The 2019 film 'Diego Maradona', a documentary covering a period of the great Argentina footballer's life, brilliantly depicts the breathless intensity of life as a superstar.

Put together with behind-the-scenes Maradona footage from various sources in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the critically acclaimed picture portrays the fierce adoration of supporters, the media and more that built and broke the ex-Napoli forward.

Quite understandably, it seems everyone wanted a piece of El Diego. Quite understandably, it seems this took its toll.

THE SPOTLIGHT

Watching Coco Gauff in the aftermath of her second-round US Open win was initially adorable and then a little uncomfortable.

The 15-year-old, with five main-draw grand slam triumphs to her name already, was riding the crest of her very own wave, blushing as the crowd chanted her name and then giggling excitedly as she was reminded defending champion Naomi Osaka is up next.

It is customary for victors on the show courts to then stick around for a moment or two after the interviews to sign autographs and take pictures before quickly disappearing back to the dressing room.

Gauff went above and beyond for her fans as the camera lingered for several minutes. Teenage boys tussled over signed merchandise, others tripped over themselves to get involved in the scrum. Coco kept smiling, kept signing. Some supporters were polite and grateful, others appeared blunt and rude. Coco kept going.

Many children her age - Gauff has beaten Venus Williams but is still just a child - might be discouraged from speaking to strangers. With a security guard at her side, Coco had an army of them, like Maradona, wanting a piece of her.

THE HYPE

Even for a player long tipped for success as a junior, Gauff's introduction to women's tennis has been quite remarkable. Against Timea Babos, she showed her power, her devilish speed and a defensive showing Simona Halep would be proud of. There was nothing in her performance to suggest she cannot one day live up to the hype surrounding her.

That hype is considerable. Daniela Hantuchova, on Amazon's Flushing Meadows coverage, gushed as she assessed Gauff's display. This was a future multiple-major winner, she said. The first serve of Venus, the second serve of Serena. Wow.

Coco has been the name on everyone's lips since Wimbledon, where Serena, Roger Federer and the rest discussed her thrilling breakthrough. She traded messages with Michelle Obama. Kobe Bryant was in New York on Thursday and keen to take in the clash with Babos.

And the world's top tennis prospect has understandably capitalised on this attention as a no-doubt-lucrative New Balance deal has seen the player, her team and her family turn out in shirts and shoes adorning the slogan, "Win or lose, call me Coco". She is being readied to rule the world.

A young Maradona, likewise destined for the top, had a camera crew follow him around in the days before this was normal, recording footage intended to make him a movie star. Ultimately, this would form part of the film that concluded with the tale of his downfall.

THE WARNING

Gauff has dealt with her new status incredibly well and will, you would imagine, continue to do so as long as the coverage remains positive and she keeps performing far above the level ordinarily expected of a teenager. There appears no pressure at this stage as she defeats senior pro after senior pro.

Yet might Osaka, her next opponent, be able to offer a word of warning? The Japanese appeared at ease and content on the WTA Tour a year ago, steadily forging an impressive career but not yet a victim of the expectation that comes with success.

That all changed with victory first at the US Open and then in Melbourne. Osaka became world number one and initially hated it. "Mentally, it was way more stress and pressure than I could have imagined," she said. Sport can chew up and spit out even the most prodigious talent. 

Osaka should beat Gauff and so there will be no outrage if the American is undone. The biggest feel-good story in tennis will roll on and on, the hype growing and then eventually perhaps, too, the scrutiny.

Whether Coco reaches superstardom or falls some way short, her health and happiness must remain intact throughout her career. Others have not always found that to be the case.

When Naomi Osaka takes on teenage sensation Coco Gauff in the tie of the third round at the US Open on Saturday, it will be impossible not to see the parallels between the two.

Following her victory in a brutal battle with Timea Babos on Thursday, John McEnroe was quick to warn how a Gauff triumph in the match everyone hoped to see may be too much, too soon for the 15-year-old sensation.

The rise of Osaka, and her subsequent struggles to deal with the spotlight that has arrived with becoming the world number one and winning two grand slams by the age of 21, may well be a reason why McEnroe made that claim.

Osaka has rarely looked comfortable in the media glare and, prior to the final major of the year at Flushing Meadows, conceded she has not had fun playing tennis since her success at the Australian Open.

The Japanese can see herself in Gauff, who is again the story of the first week of a grand slam having become the youngest woman to reach the third round of the US Open since 1996.

However, speaking after her routine win over Magda Linette on Thursday, Osaka pointed out a key difference between her and Gauff.

"Yeah, I mean, off the court she seems like me. Well, she seems a little bit more, like, she knows what she's doing," Osaka said. "I just mean, like, I'm very quiet. I've gotten actually a bit talkative recently, though.

"But, yeah, I saw her in the locker room. She wasn't really talking to anyone. I was like, 'Oh, looks familiar'. I'm just going to talk to her. I know she's super young, and I know it's sort of hard to transition.

"I wasn't even a junior, but I can only imagine as a junior you play these tournaments with your friends, and then you come to the pros and you don't know anyone.

"She's a really talented girl. I would love for her to come out of her shell a little bit. I just realise that's probably what people say about me, too."

Though based on her post-match demeanour, Osaka may be doing herself a disservice.

A comfortable win understandably changes the tone of a media conference for the better, but Osaka's light-hearted approach to proceedings - in which she cracked jokes about helping famous fans Kobe Bryant and Colin Kaepernick stay out of the sun - made for a striking contrast to how she has often dealt with the media.

Still, Osaka's praise of Gauff's composure is well-founded. On and off the court, the teenager never seems fazed by anything thrown in her direction, though she partially credits Osaka for giving her the belief she can beat the best on the biggest stage.

Asked what she can take from how Osaka has navigated early success, Gauff told a media conference: "I think she just made it, I guess, possible. 

"Last year, at the US Open, she wasn't really like a big contender. Obviously now this year she is. She had that amazing run, then the final. Honestly, I think she's a big inspiration for everyone. She's 21. She has two slams. She's still thriving for more.

"I think she's just a super-sweet person on and off the court. She competes great out there. I think she shows us how to compete and the way to, like, be off the court, too."

Competing with Osaka on the court will be the biggest challenge Gauff has faced so far. She fought extremely hard in her Wimbledon defeat to Simona Halep and will likely have to improve on that effort if she is to progress further in New York.

In terms of her overall poise, however, Gauff may actually be ahead of a world number one who is still finding her feet in dealing with the rigours that come with being at the top of the sport.

Too much, too soon? It remains to be seen. However, there can be no doubt Gauff has the temperament to handle the occasion in what will be the first of hopefully many enticing contests between two players set to dominate women's tennis.

Vasyl Lomachenko heads to London to take on Luke Campbell with his WBA and WBO lightweight belts, as well as the vacant WBC title, on the line.

Since losing his second professional fight in 2014, Lomachenko has 12 wins from as many bouts and represents a huge hurdle for challenger Campbell to attempt to clear.

So tough is the task ahead of Campbell that he last week told GQ he had been sparring three boxers at once to prepare.

Does the home hopeful have any chance, or is Lomachenko simply too strong? We take a look at the tale of the tape.

 

VASYL LOMACHENKO

Born: 17/02/1988; Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine
Age: 31
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 5ft 7ins
Weight: 9st, 8lbs, 8oz
Reach: 65.5ins
Professional record: 13 wins, 1 defeat, 10 wins by knockout
KO ratio: 71.4 per cent
Major career titles: WBO featherweight; WBO super featherweight; WBA, WBO lightweight titles
Last fight: Anthony Crolla, April 2019 (Won - KO)

LUKE CAMPBELL

Born: 27/9/1987; Hull, England
Age: 31
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 5ft 9ins
Weight: 9st, 8lbs, 4oz
Reach: 71ins
Professional record: 20 wins, 2 defeats, 16 wins by knockout
KO ratio: 72.7 per cent
Major career titles: None
Last fight: Adrian Yung, March 2019 (Won - TKO)

Many thousands of words have been spoken and written in praise of the mercurial Vasyl Lomachenko.

The three-weight world champion will look to add the WBC lightweight title to his WBO and WBA belts when he faces fellow Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena on Saturday.

Eulogies have poured forth throughout fight week in London, but the Ukrainian superstar's most recent opponent only needs one word when his most celebrated attribute comes up.

"Unreal," Anthony Crolla said instantly upon the first mention of "footwork" when talking to Omnisport about the challenge of trying to crack the Lomachenko puzzle.

Like all proud combatants before him, former WBA king Crolla was confident of shocking the world when he stepped into the ring with the 31-year-old in Los Angeles this April.

But soon he felt the force of a ruthless version of Lomachenko, a supreme performer looking to prove a point after a relatively below-par showing in a unification match-up with Jose Pedraza.

While fists carrying out assaults at once blurring and completely calculated covered the first part of boxing's "hit and don't' get hit" mantra, Lomachenko's deft feet and masterful control of distance took care of the latter.

"I've not really seen anything like it," said Crolla, who was bloodied and stopped inside four rounds by a boxer whose baffling brilliance has earned the nicknames "Hi-Tech" and "The Matrix".

"Before the fight we had three or four sparring partners who all did a great job.

"When you're asking a sparring partner to come to camp, you're sort of second-guessing what your opponent's going to do.

"I think there's a good possibility Lomachenko is the hardest boxer on the planet to second-guess because he's so clever and unorthodox.

"He does a lot of things that fighters can't do and if they try to do the same thing as him, they'd come unstuck. He's very, very hard to read."

Like Crolla, Campbell will be the naturally bigger man against a fighter who began his professional career at featherweight – following a completely absurd amateur record of 396 wins and one twice-avenged defeat.

But a combination of balance, accuracy, punch variety and underrated power can quickly overturn anything considered a potential disadvantage for Lomachenko.

"He hit harder than I expected for a smaller guy coming up through the weights," Crolla explained. "Obviously the accuracy and the angles he hits you from counts for a lot of that.

"He's always very well balanced, so he's always there to deliver a shot and he hits the spaces very well.

"He'll vary the power up. He might touch you, then hit you with a hard shot. Touch, touch, hard shot. So it's hard to gauge that power.

"Obviously, he knocked me out but even before that I was a bit surprised about his power. I didn't expect it to be such an issue."

Speaking with his typical Mancunian modesty, Crolla feels Campbell – who lost narrowly to their mutual foe Jorge Linares in his only previous world-title bid – is better equipped to deal with Lomachenko than he was.

Unfortunately for his fellow Briton, Crolla does not expect this to make much difference to the outcome.

 "I had very little success, so I don't know how much my opinion counts," he chuckled.

"Stylistically, Lomachenko is probably a nightmare for me. He's a nightmare for anyone but Luke has probably got better tools for the job.

"I believe he'll look to box, keep it long, use that height and reach advantage.

"That's one of the very few advantages he has, but Lomachenko's feet are that good, how long before he takes that advantage away from Luke?"

The hunch is not too long, with Crolla expecting the end to arrive shortly after the midway point of a high-class contest.

"I see Luke having little bits of success for the first two or three rounds. They'll box off each other a little bit," he added.

"But I see Lomachenko getting the better of that exchange before he starts to put it on Luke. I think around six or seven rounds he catches up with him and body shots could come into play."

Three lightweight title belts are on the line on Saturday when Vasyl Lomachenko welcomes the challenge of Luke Campbell in London.

Lomachenko holds the WBA and WBO straps, while the vacant WBC championship is also up for grabs as Campbell looks to cause a huge upset.

Ahead of the highly anticipated clash, we take a look at the key numbers courtesy of Opta.

 

14 - Lomachenko is set to be involved in his 14th world title fight as a professional boxer in what is just his 15th bout in the paid ranks. His debut versus Jose Ramirez in October 2013 was the only time he has not competed for a world championship belt.

0 - Campbell has never won a professional world title. He fell just short at his only previous attempt, a split-decision defeat to Jorge Linares in September 2017.

2 - The fight against Linares was one of two defeats Campbell has suffered. He also lost to Yvan Mendy in December 2015 but exacted revenge in a 2018 rematch, winning comfortably on the cards at Wembley.

1 - Lomachenko has lost once in his career, to Orlando Salido for the WBO world featherweight championship in March 2014 - just his second fight. He was aiming to better Saensak Muangsurin, who set a record by winning a world title in his third professional bout.

9 - The Ukrainian has forced a stoppage in nine of his past 10 bouts. Only the unanimous decision win over Jose Pedraza went the distance in that time.

13 - In Lomachenko's professional career, he has fought in the United States on 13 occasions. This will be his second outside of America, the other taking place in Macau in 2014.

5ft 9in - Campbell is the tallest opponent Lomachenko has ever faced as a professional boxer.

3 - The two fighters have three Olympic gold medals between them. Lomachenko won the featherweight competition in 2008 and the lightweight event in 2012. Campbell triumphed at bantamweight at the London Games.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup gets under way in China on Saturday.

A total of 32 teams from four confederations will battle it out across eight host cities in the space of just over two weeks.

We take a look at five talking points ahead of what should be an enthralling competition.

 

A three-peat in the offing?

The United States have won the past two editions of the World Cup and are once again the favourites for glory. No country has ever won three straight titles.

However, Team USA are without a host of their leading NBA stars and are relying heavily on a young group.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said: "A lot of guys back in 2010; KD [Kevin Durant], Russ [Westbrook], Kevin Love, all those guys were young. They made a name for themselves and really propelled themselves for future success in their careers."

The competition could prove beneficial to the Boston Celtics, with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Brown getting some extra time on court with new arrival Kemba Walker.

Booming Boomers

Australia enjoyed a huge boost ahead of the World Cup by beating Team USA for the first time with a 98-94 triumph at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

The experienced quartet of Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills will be key to their hopes of a deep run.

Mills said: "We're locked in focused on trying to create history for basketball within Australia and that's what it's all about. So, we're not satisfied, we've just got to keep working hard."

However, the Boomers lost their final warm-up match against Germany 74-64 and saw Andrew Bogut limp off in the fourth quarter.

More Nurse magic?

After leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship, Nick Nurse took the reins for Canada.

He got off to a winning start against Nigeria and went on to record victories over Australia and New Zealand.

But Canada also lost warm-up matches with Nigeria, Australia and Team USA, showing they have plenty of work to do if they are to pull off a shock in China.

A 'Greek Freak' Show

Greece's best performance came in 2006, when they finished second to Spain in Japan.

This time, though, they have a once-in-a-generation talent in NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 assists during the 2018-19 regular season.

Antetokounmpo will be integral to Greece's hopes, though he sat out their final warm-up against Venezuela due to a knee problem.

If he is fit and firing, Antetokounmpo will undoubtedly make a mark on the competition.

Understrength Spain

It looks like it will be difficult for Spain to win the title for a second time.

Head coach Sergio Scariolo has selected an experienced team that is headlined by Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Llull.

They would undoubtedly have had a better chance had Serge Ibaka and Nikola Mirotic made themselves available, while Pau Gasol is absent due to injury.

Scariolo said: "The players that you have named [Nikola Mirotic and Serge Ibaka], at least one of the two would have been picked if they had made themselves available for selection.

"Another like Pau for example, he would have killed to be with us but unfortunately he is unavailable through injury."

Alexis Sanchez will attempt to put a forgettable start to his Manchester United career behind him after joining Inter on loan.

The Chile forward just never managed to find form and fitness after leaving Arsenal and has gone to Italy in a bid to revitalise his career.

It's safe to say United have not had a particularly good record when it comes to getting the best out of South American stars - although there have been a few exceptions.

Below, we rank the players from that continent to turn out for the Red Devils in competitive matches...

 

18. Rodrigo Possebon (2008-10)

Possebon squeaks onto this list as a Brazil-born player, even though he represented Italy at youth level.

Signed by United from Internacional in 2008, he mustered three league appearances before a fruitless loan to Braga and then a return to Brazil. He last played for Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

 

17. Radamel Falcao (2014-15)

Falcao, the man who tore through defences for fun with Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, looked as though he had practically forgotten how to play football when he pulled on the red shirt at United, even if he did manage four goals in 26 Premier League appearances.

Just to rub it in, he returned to Monaco in 2016 and promptly became brilliant again.

16. Kleberson (2003-05)

A World Cup winner snapped up for approximately £6.5million - what could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything, it turns out.

Kleberson played 20 league games between 2003 and 2005 before being shipped out to Besiktas.

 

15. Guillermo Varela (2013-17)

Becoming David Moyes' first signing was probably never going to work out for the best.

Varela spent four years at United, two of which saw him leave on loan, before he went to Penarol to get his career back up and running. He now plays for Copenhagen.

 

14. Fred (2018-)

Like Sanchez, Fred was said to be a man coveted by Manchester City only for United and Jose Mourinho to get in the way. Like Sanchez, the £47m midfielder has proved to be a redundant presence in the squad, apparently not valued by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Unlike Sanchez, it looks as though Fred will get longer to prove his worth to the manager.

13. Alexis Sanchez (2018-19)

He had some moments - the winner in the comeback against Newcastle United, the FA Cup strike against old club Arsenal - but they have not exactly justified the reported basic wage of £300,000 per week.

Sanchez will hope to rekindle his career alongside good friend Romelu Lukaku at Inter - another player who could not convince Solskjaer of his worth.

 

12. Anderson (2007-15)

A combative, hard-working presence in the United midfield, Anderson seemed to have a peculiar habit of kicking the ball as hard as possible regardless of whether he was shooting from 35 yards out or passing to a team-mate behind him.

He certainly got a huge medal haul – seven major trophies in eight years, no less – but his crowning achievement at Old Trafford was having a song to the tune of Black Lace's 1984 hit 'Agadoo'. And, yes, he was better than Kleberson.

 

11. Angel Di Maria (2014-15)

His audacious lob against Leicester City showed the sort of quality he could offer United as a then-British record signing (£60m, according to reports). Sadly, in that same game, United collapsed to lose 5-3 and Louis van Gaal seemed to lose all faith in attacking football of any kind.

Di Maria never seemed to gel with Van Gaal, nor did he ever settle in Manchester, and he was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for a loss within a year. He has, of course, been exceptional in France.

10. Juan Sebastian Veron (2001-03)

Veron is another expensive Argentina star who scored a memorable goal in a 5-3 game for United - on that occasion, it was when they came from 3-0 down to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Veron was a good example of the right player signed at the wrong time. United still had great quality in midfield in 2001, when Veron joined from Lazio; within a couple of years, that strength in depth had evaporated, and the world's most right-footed footballer would have been a welcome addition.

 

9. Fabio (2008-14)

Whether or not he really was the most talented of the Da Silva twins, as was claimed, Fabio was certainly not the most effective in his Old Trafford career.

Although a full-back by trade, Fabio made two rather decisive appearances in midfield for United. One was in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal, when Alex Ferguson somehow pulled off a win with Fabio, Rafael, Darron Gibson and John O'Shea as the central four; the other was during a 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Eve in 2011, a match that convinced Paul Pogba he had no immediate future at the club.

 

8. Andreas Pereira (2011-)

A Brazil international born in Belgium, Pereira had a long wait to break into United's first team on a regular basis. Many supporters are still wondering when he will justify the patience.

The midfielder has talent, for sure, but whether he has enough to become a mainstay over the coming years remains to be seen. Solskjaer appears to be a big fan, so 2019-20 could be a crucial season for his development.

 

7. Diego Forlan (2002-04)

Forlan's best days were certainly after he left Old Trafford, when he would become a fine forward for Villarreal and Atletico Madrid. He retired this month to a general hum of respect and admiration.

United fans will always remember him for a winning double against Liverpool in 2002, but his talent was just a little too raw for him to establish himself in the north west.

6. Marcos Rojo (2014-)

Injuries, including serious knee damage, and a proclivity for a reckless challenge or two have dogged Rojo's past couple of seasons and may leave many wondering why he is so high in this list.

Well, it's easy to forget the important part he played in Mourinho's first season, when United won the EFL Cup and Europa League. Such was his determination to run through the proverbial brick wall for his boss, he asked for a banana to give him an energy boost while playing in the last-16 win over Rostov.

 

5. Rafael (2008-15)

A popular figure like his brother, Rafael simply offered more quality and consistency in the United team, his best season coming as first-choice right-back when they last won the league in 2012-13.

Van Gaal was not a big fan, so he was sold to Lyon in 2015, with whom he signed a new contract in May.

4. Gabriel Heinze (2004-07)

Although he was a touch heavy-handed with challenges at times - he really did like to lead with his elbows when jumping for headers - Heinze was an excellent player for United despite his second season being ruined by a major knee problem.

In fact, he would likely have stayed for longer had his place not been usurped by Patrice Evra, who was signed as cover following that injury.

 

3. Sergio Romero (2015-)

Okay, he has not played as often as others on this list, but Romero has essentially established himself as the most accomplished back-up goalkeeper in the world at United.

Hugely dependable when called upon, he was also first choice in the successful Europa League campaign of 2016-17 and kept a clean sheet in the final against Ajax.

 

2. Antonio Valencia (2009-19)

Some fans lost patience with him in his final few months, when he seemed to be phased out of the squad by Solskjaer with little explanation, but Valencia had a commendable career at United after joining from Wigan Athletic in 2009.

His decade at Old Trafford yielded two Premier Leagues, two EFL Cups, an FA Cup and a Europa League, as he marauded down the right flank as a wide midfielder and later as a first-rate converted full-back. He was the club's Players' Player of the Year twice, in 2011-12 (as a winger) and 2016-17 (as a defender).

1. Carlos Tevez (2007-09)

He's not exactly the most popular man in the red half of Manchester given his move to City in 2009, but even the angriest of Red Devils cannot deny Tevez's impact.

He spearheaded an attack containing Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo - one of the most fearsome United have ever had - and led Ferguson's side to two Premier Leagues, an EFL Cup, a Club World Cup and the Champions League in just two years.

Vasyl Lomachenko will aim to burnish his reputation as one of the finest boxers of his generation when he meets fellow Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena on Saturday.

The masterful Ukrainian star can add the vacant WBC belt to his WBA and WBO titles at lightweight – the third division he has ruled as a world champion.

Lomachenko's dazzling exploits means he is frequently talked of as a leading pound-for-pound fighter – the endlessly debatable rankings of the best performers in the sport, regardless of their weight division.

Here, while preparing ourselves for what might be lurking in the comments section, we rank our top five boxers in the world today.

5) Naoya Inoue

Record: 18-0 (16 KOs)

'Monster' may campaign at the lower weights but he hits incredibly hard. The different classifications at flyweight were not a problem for Inoue, and the early signs are he will take the bantamweight division by storm, too. The 26-year-old stopped Jamie McDonnell in a round to claim the WBA strap and then marked his first defence by doing the same to Juan Carlos Payano. Emmanuel Rodriguez had the temerity to take Inoue into round two before being decked three times in May. Future hall of famer Nonito Donaire is up next.

4) Oleksandr Usyk

Record: 16-0 (12 KOs)

Another Ukrainian to make waves after huge success as an amateur, Usyk confirmed his status as the best cruiserweight in the world by retaining the IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC belts against Tony Bellew in November. A southpaw who carries power, his step up the heavyweight division has been delayed by a bicep injury but is keenly anticipated.

3) Terence Crawford

Record: 35-0 (26 KOs)

Like Lomachenko, Crawford is a three-weight world champion. The Omaha-born 31-year-old is a switch-hitting expert who goes from orthodox to southpaw with ridiculous ease. His fast hands also catch the eye as well as opponents, and his skillset has been too much for any foe to deal with to date, including latest victim Amir Khan in April. A welterweight unification with compatriot Errol Spence Jr is a fight the world wants to see but, predictably, one television and promotional arrangements might continue to scupper.

2) Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Record: 52-1-2 (35 KOs)

Alvarez's gripping bouts with middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin might have ended with disputed decisions but they also left the Mexican icon as boxing's biggest star. A supreme tactician and counter-puncher, Canelo showcased his chilling power to the body when becoming a three-weight champion versus an overmatched Rocky Fielding last December. He then underscored his supremacy at 160lbs by outpointing Danny Jacobs – could Sergey Kovalev be next?

1) Vasyl Lomachenko

Record: 13-1 (10 KOs)

After an illustrious career in the amateurs that finished with 396 wins and a solitary defeat, the 31-year-old has achieved plenty over the course of 14 outings in the paid ranks. Lomachenko has won titles at feather, super-feather and lightweight, recording wins over Jorge Linares, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Gary Russell Jr and Jose Pedraza before blitzing Campbell's countryman Anthony Crolla last time out. The solitary blip came against Orlando Salido in his second fight - and even that was a much-debated split-decision verdict. 

Losses for Arsenal and Tottenham last weekend are set to add extra spice to the always feisty north London derby at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners were comfortably outdone by a Mohamed Salah-inspired Liverpool in a 3-1 defeat that ended their perfect start to the Premier League season.

Times are even tougher for Tottenham, who slipped up at home to Newcastle United and seem distracted by the transfer speculation surrounding star playmaker Christian Eriksen.

Clarity of purpose can be discovered in matches of this magnitude but a survey of the Opta data sheds light on just how difficult it will be for Spurs to succeed.

 

AWAY GAME NO ESCAPE FOR SPURS

Lucas Moura urged Tottenham to stop dropping "stupid points" at home right before the loss to lowly Newcastle.

Taking a break from the club's shiny new 62,000-seater ground might seem attractive in the wake of last weekend's result but there is scant consolation to be found on the road, even when the journey is only brief.

Spurs are winless in seven Premier League away games, a run not endured since an eight-game streak between December 2011 and April 2012.

Goals from Son Heung-min and Dele Alli did secure an EFL Cup victory at Emirates Stadium last season.

Could it be regarded as something of a wasted win?

Only once before - in 1925 and 1926 - have Tottenham won consecutive matches at Arsenal and it would take a first away league victory for Mauricio Pochettino over Unai Emery at the fifth attempt to break almost 100 years of history.

HEAD TO HEAD: DAVID LUIZ V DAVINSON SANCHEZ

Both sides need to return to form and, individually, so too do David Luiz and Davinson Sanchez.

The former was outfoxed by Salah for each of the Egyptian's two goals at Anfield, while Colombia international Sanchez completely lost Joelinton for Newcastle's winner.

Should he again be selected ahead of Jan Vertonghen, Sanchez will have a big job to do against Arsenal's dangerous, quick forwards and there are clear improvements he must make.

The 23-year-old has won a meagre 55 per cent of his tackles since the start of the last Premier League season, far inferior to the more experienced David Luiz's success rate of 74 per cent.

Opposition players also dribble past the Spurs centre-back with far more regularity - 0.77 times per match - than his fellow South American, who gets beaten an average of 0.24 times every 90 minutes.

David Luiz, winner of 54 per cent of aerial battles, remains some way short of a perfect back-four member and could struggle to deal with Harry Kane if Spurs can sling inviting crosses into the area.

FORM GUIDE

Arsenal headed to Merseyside with a maximum six Premier League points already registered and left with their confidence dented.

Emery's tactical tweaks subdued a slick Liverpool for close to 45 minutes but, once Joel Matip made the breakthrough, the European champions were simply too strong.

Still, after wins against Newcastle and Burnley, it could be worse, as Pochettino can attest.

His team's luck ran out after a fortunate draw at Manchester City as they spluttered to a 1-0 loss at home to Steve Bruce's Magpies, a side that had been reeling from a harrowing defeat on the road to Norwich City. 

Sluggish starts have been an issue: Watford are the only other Premier League team to have conceded the opening goal in all three matches this term.

HISTORY SAYS...

Beware the September specialists!

Sunday heralds the end of August and marks the beginning of a traditionally excellent month for Arsenal.

The Gunners have won more Premier League games (60) and boast a higher win rate (61 per cent) than any other side in September.

Converting penalties is important whichever page the calendar is on and particularly so in the north London derby.

Harry Kane scored one in March, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not, and now spot-kicks have been the source of five of the past 14 goals in this fixture.

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first competitive appearance for Real Madrid 10 years ago in a 3-2 LaLiga victory against Deportivo La Coruna.

The Portugal forward reached superstar status after being made the world's most expensive player at the time when joining Madrid from Manchester United for a reported €94million.

He went on to become the club's all-time leading scorer and won 15 trophies, including four Champions League crowns and two LaLiga titles, before leaving for Juventus in 2018.

To mark the decade anniversary since it all began for Ronaldo at Madrid, we look back at their team from that day and where they all are 10 years on.

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Synonymous with the number one shirt at Real Madrid and widely considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Casillas brought an end to his 25-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015 by joining Porto. The veteran suffered a heart attack during a training session in May and doubts remain over his future in the game, with an administrative role at Porto likely if he retires.

Right-back: Alvaro Arbeloa

Arbeloa returned to Madrid for a second spell at the club the month after Ronaldo joined and he became a regular at the back for several years before joining West Ham in 2016. The World Cup-winning defender retired after one season at West Ham. He has lived a somewhat low-key retirement, but did briefly coach Mambo FC in 2018, a team formed of freestyle footballers from YouTube.

Centre-back: Ezequiel Garay

Garay's Real Madrid career never managed to take off and he was sold to Benfica in 2011 after falling down the pecking order. He moved to Zenit St Petersburg three years later and is now back in the Spanish top flight with Valencia, where he has featured regularly over the past three seasons.

Hay que seguir luchando,no hay otro camino,los resultados positivos seguro que van a llegar,gracias a la afición por el apoyo de siempre #G24 #amuntvalencia pic.twitter.com/Wo7PVLl97z

— Ezequiel Garay (@Garay_24) February 17, 2019

Centre-back: Raul Albiol

Another player signed the year Ronaldo arrived, Albiol was snapped up from LaLiga counterparts Valencia and played 43 matches in all competitions in his debut campaign. He left for Napoli in 2013 after seeing his playing time gradually reduce, spending six seasons there before returning to Spain with Villarreal in July.

Left-back: Marcelo

One of only two players from this side still at Madrid, Marcelo is now into his 14th season at the club and has been a regular in most of those campaigns. Despite strong links with a move to Juve earlier this year, Marcelo remained at the Santiago Bernabeu and has started both league matches this term.

 

https://t.co/ZW98dzRll2

— Marcelotwelve (@MarceloM12) July 28, 2019

Central midfielder: Lassana Diarra

Diarra made a positive start to his Los Blancos career and later featured 17 times in their title-winning season of 2011-12, but the Frenchman moved to Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012 after playing time decreased. He then spent time with Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille and Al Jazira, before a surprise move to Paris Saint-Germain in January 2018. He retired in February, though he was an unused substitute once for Belgian side Sporting Charleroi in March.

Central midfielder: Xabi Alonso

Alonso was signed from Liverpool and became the linchpin of Madrid's midfield for five years, winning five major honours, including the Champions League in 2014. He then linked up with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, before bowing out on a high in 2017 after adding five more trophies to his collection. He has since moved into coaching, taking charge of boyhood club Real Sociedad's 'B' team.

Attacking midfielder: Kaka

Kaka arrived at Madrid in June 2009 as a one-time Ballon d'Or winner and was the most expensive player in the world for all of a month, a record that was taken from him by Ronaldo. The Brazilian struggled under Jose Mourinho and returned to AC Milan four years later, with Gareth Bale's arrival pushing him further out of the picture. He was unable to match his previous heights in San Siro and saw out his career in Major League Soccer with Orlando City. Rumours of a return with Silvio Berlusconi-backed Monza failed to materialise.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo got off the mark in his first outing for Madrid with a penalty. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner went on to add a further 450 goals, becoming Madrid's all-time leading goal-scorer. If last year's switch to Juve was surprising, his form for the Old Lady was anything but. He was crowned Serie A's Player of the Year in his debut campaign after guiding Juve to an eighth straight Scudetto with his 21 goals in the league.

Forward: Raul

Club icon Raul was into the latter stages of his Madrid career when Ronaldo arrived, spending just one season alongside him. Ronaldo was handed Raul's number seven shirt when the Spaniard left for Schalke 04 in 2010 and many of his goalscoring records have since fallen to arguably the club's greatest ever player. Raul spent a combined five years with Schalke, Al Sadd and New York Cosmos before moving into coaching with Real Madrid's age-grade and reserve sides.

Forward: Karim Benzema

The other member of this team still at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has managed to see off a succession of strikers to remain Los Blancos' go-to man up top. The Frenchman joined the same year as Ronaldo and formed an impressive partnership with his attacking colleague. He is sixth on the club's list of all-time leading scorers with 224 goals, but is still a long way short of Ronaldo's record.

Substitute: Esteban Granero

Granero started his career with Madrid and returned in 2009 following a spell with neighbours Getafe. He never became first-choice and is now at Espanyol, having also played for QPR and Real Sociedad.

Substitute: Gonzalo Higuain

The Argentine striker was prolific for Madrid and Napoli between 2007 and 2016, before controversially swapping Naples for Turin. After unsuccessful loan spells with AC Milan and Chelsea, he is back with the Old Lady under Maurizio Sarri.

Substitute: Guti

Guti spent 15 years with Madrid and is renowned as one of the most talented players to have come through their academy. He left in 2010 and spent the final year of his career with Besiktas and is now part of their coaching staff, having also previously worked behind the scenes with Madrid.

Pressure is reportedly building on Javi Gracia, with Watford the only team in the Premier League left without a point after three matches.

Defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion, Everton and West Ham led the former Malaga boss to admit "the dynamic is not good" as he called for improvement.

The achievements of last season should buy him time to turn results around but scratch beneath the surface and ingrained shortcomings are evident.

An assessment of the Opta data portrays a misfiring team as being on the slide for longer than might have been assumed.

 

Early promise in Premier League

Gracia took charge of Watford mere hours after Marco Silva's acrimonious exit in January 2018 and, amid the maelstrom, proved a calming presence. 

The mild-mannered Spaniard steadied a side which had won one Premier League match in 11 by delivering victories over Chelsea, Everton and West Brom in the space of five games.

Watford ended the season eight points clear of danger and renewed optimism grew into European ambition with a four-match winning streak at the outset of the following campaign.

November brought an inevitable downturn in results but, after earning the club's highest Premier League points total, Gracia appeared untouchable.

He additionally secured an unexpected FA Cup final appearance and a points per game average of 1.18 ranks him level with Quique Sanchez Flores and above former bosses Silva (1.08) and Walter Mazzarri (1.05).

Why, then, does his position appear perilous?

Points becoming precious

A deeper look at the data suggests last season's run to the FA Cup final might have masked the degree to which Watford's results have nosedived in the Premier League.

Vicarage Road was rocking at the end of October as a 3-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town further cemented seventh spot.

Since then, the Hornets have claimed 31 points from 31 matches.

That leaves them in 15th on the form table beginning from November 2018, one place and two points above Cardiff City, despite playing three more top-flight matches than the Championship outfit.

Gracia's win percentage in the same period is a lowly 25.8 per cent.

Mazzarri posted a superior 29 per cent win ratio in the final 31 matches he oversaw before being moved on at the end of the 2016-17 season.

Watford have exhibited a ruthless streak since returning to the Premier League and Gracia will have to address one debilitating deficiency to avoid become the latest casualty.

Missed chances hurting Hornets

Conceding seven goals in three games this term is naturally a point of concern for Gracia, a defensive midfielder during his playing days.

Plugging holes at the back will not solve all of the problems, however.

Since the start of last season, Watford have converted a league-low 29.9 per cent of the 89 'big chances' they have created.

Will Hughes, responsible for a point-blank miss in the 3-1 weekend loss to West Ham, is the worst culprit.

The midfielder has passed up each of his four big chances over the past 12 months, while defenders Craig Cathcart, Christian Kabasele and Adrian Mariappa have each squandered three.

Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray, with paltry big chance conversion rates of 20 per cent and 28.6 per cent respectively, share large levels of responsibility.

Under pressure to produce a fix, Gracia may have to start making some tough selection decisions. 

Clubs in Spain, Germany, Italy and France have less than seven days left to buy reinforcements in the transfer window, though there are plenty of players still available for free.

The process of signing free agents is less restrictive than buying players from other clubs, as they can be brought in after the deadline passes.

Many teams might therefore be able to find what they are looking for without forking out hefty transfer fees, which have been known to increase closer to the window closing due to the difficulty of finding replacements.

Several out-of-contract stars secured moves earlier in the year, with Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey and Ander Herrera proving there is still real value to be found in the market.

We've identified six players without a club who could still do a job at a decent level.

 

Hatem Ben Arfa

If a club is willing to put up with some potential baggage and the occasional off-field issue, Ben Arfa could prove an inspired signing. He proved with Rennes last season that he is still immensely capable, as he scored seven goals and set up another two in 26 Ligue 1 appearances, while he also caught the eye with his dazzling dribbling in the Europa League. At 32, he is surely still worth a punt for a year.

Fernando Llorente

Even in his more youthful days Llorente was not the most mobile, but that did not prevent him playing for Athletic Bilbao, Juventus, Sevilla and Tottenham. It is difficult to read too much into his Spurs spell, given he only made seven Premier League starts in two years, but his ability to hold the play up and cause problems with his physicality seem to be intact. Recently linked with Manchester United, he might be more suited to a return to Spain, where the pace is slightly less intense.

Jose Mauri

After breaking through at Parma as a teenager, Mauri looked a very smart acquisition by AC Milan when the former were relegated in 2015 and forced to start again in Serie D due to bankruptcy. In four years, he made just 11 Serie A appearances for Milan, but the former Italy Under-21 international is not without talent. A creative midfielder who is still only 23, there is plenty of time for Mauri – like former club Parma – to enjoy his own rebirth.

Martin Caceres

An immensely experienced centre-back, Caceres, 32, has played for Barcelona, Villarreal, Sevilla, Juventus and Lazio in a distinguished career. He spent the second half of last season at the Old Lady for a second spell, making nine Serie A appearances. Injuries have troubled him over the years, but he proved in Turin he is still capable of playing in a top division.

Claudio Marchisio

Although he is still recovering from knee surgery, a recent social post captioned "tick tock #imready" hinted Marchisio was itching to return to action. Most recently with Zenit in Russia, the Juventus icon has ruled out playing for another Italian side, which scuppered a potential deal with Brescia. Although not the competitor he once was, Marchisio can be counted on for experience, leadership and fine technique.

Lazar Markovic

Markovic is widely regarded as one of Liverpool's worst signings, certainly in the Premier League era. The Serbian winger rose to prominence at Benfica as a teenager, with the Reds then bringing him to Anfield for an estimated £20m in 2014. He has unsuccessful loan spells at Fenerbahce, Sporting CP, Hull City and Anderlecht before joining Fulham on a free in January. However, at 25, time is still on his side. A move to humbler surroundings might just be what the midfielder needs to rebuild his career.

Nineteen from the over, the ball soaring into the crowd. Ben Stokes had seen this story before from the other side.

West Indies needed 19 as England's premier all-rounder stood at the end of his mark to conclude the 2016 World T20 final. Six, six, six and another six from Carlos Brathwaite later and expectations of glory were in tatters.

A more successful final outing under his belt, Stokes was the man dishing out punishment to the previously imperious Josh Hazlewood at Headingley on Sunday, orchestrating a mind-boggling chase of 359 and a one-wicket win that will forever have its place in cricket history.

Decades from now the highlights packages of those audacious exploits will be pored over time and again, but it is interesting to consider how this Test era – apparently Stokes' world with the rest of us merely living in it – might be viewed overall.

Because this most grand and elegant of team sports has never seemed so unhinged.

Kusal the Durban destroyer

At the start of last month, only six times in the previous century had a team won a Test having been dismissed for under 100 in their first innings. England have since done it twice.

Stokes' unbeaten 135 has understandably been described as a once-in-a-lifetime innings, but Kusal Perera did something remarkably similar in February.

Needing 304 to beat South Africa, Kusal was joined by last man Vishwa Fernando with the score 226-9. The Jack Leach of the piece, Fernando was relatively prolific in compiling six not out.

Meanwhile Kusal bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 153, with 12 fours and five sixes. It secured a one-wicket win from beyond the wildest dreams or nightmares of those involved.

There is not a more daunting pace trio to successfully take to the cleaners in world cricket than Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, as Stokes and his broken helmet will attest. The combination of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier that Kusal faced down comes pretty close.

Like Stokes, Kusal is a white-ball destroyer. He boasts five ODI centuries and 10 T20I fifties. On Monday, he bagged a second straight duck as Sri Lanka were walloped by an innings and 65 runs in Colombo. New Zealand's masterful seam duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee were seldom manoeuvred far from the cut strip.

The hosts' 122 all out demonstrated little of the skill or inclination needed to save a draw with rain around. It had far more in common with England's 67 all out at Headingley on Friday, where Stokes - a picture of dedication and self-denial until his prolonged pyrotechnics in the second innings - played the most abysmal shot of them all.

This is the boom and bust of modern Test cricket. Two sides of the same golden coin.

Twenty20 vision

Once a cash cow and now the untamed money monster, T20 and its global franchise leagues increasingly set the sport's direction of travel.

The international schedule has been tailored accordingly, often in vain, to keep the biggest stars in their country's colours. Preparation, tour matches and the repetition required for mastery when facing the red ball and first-class cricket's particular challenges are all lacking.

It means the likes of Hazlewood and Cummins or Boult and Southee can approach most top orders with glee if conditions offer them anything. Technique and temperament are always likely to be in the bowler's favour.

The other side of this is batsmen think all things can be achieved at all times. Stokes' Leeds barrage has been mentioned alongside the best knocks from greats such as Brian Lara and VVS Laxman. But none of those hallowed names could have called upon the thumping, ramping and reverse-slogging solutions he had to hand.

Stokes, Kusal and their ilk have honed these skills in pressure situations around the world. They know they can pull it off under suffocating pressure.

In what must be a grim realisation, the bowlers know it too. Stokes knew it as Brathwaite made merry. The best riposte can come from mystery spin or extreme pace. See Jofra Archer, another stalwart of cricket's new age making an indelible mark upon its oldest contest.

As schedules become ever more contorted and stretched, with first-class competitions neglected and shunted to the margins, there will be a reckoning for Test cricket that might not be pretty.

In the meantime, we at least get to enjoy this glorious, baffling hybrid of infinite possibility. Cricket featuring all you ever knew producing results you never considered for a moment. What a time to be alive in Ben Stokes' world.

Ben Stokes' remarkable heroics at Headingley mean the Ashes series is all square at 1-1 with two to play.

But beyond what can reasonably be considered among the greatest Test innings of all time in one of the most remarkable finales in the history of cricket's longest format, there is plenty for England and Australia to consider.

The flaws of both teams have contributed to the undulating drama of this series every bit as much as individual brilliance on each side.

Before they reconvene at Old Trafford next week, here are some selection quandaries England and Australia must ponder.

ENGLAND

Roy's race is run

While Stokes has transferred his golden Cricket World Cup form to the Test format, the punt on white-ball specialist Jason Roy bringing his talents to bear at the top of the England order has failed to come off.

A best of 28 has been followed by four consecutive failures to reach double figures, with muddled footwork and a lost off stump making it seem cruel to ask Roy to keep on facing the new ball. Dropping into the middle order, with Joe Denly promoted to open, is one option, though a spell out of the side feels kinder right now.

Should England want to bring in a new face alongside Rory Burns, Warwickshire's Dominic Sibley is the leading option thanks to three centuries and four fifties in the County Championship this season.

Buttler best left out?

Over the course of three Tests, Jos Buttler has edged down from five to seven in the England order. A gutsy second-innings 31 at Lord's is his only effort to recommend among a string of single-figure scores, even if he could do little about being run out by Headingley hero Stokes.

Surrey's Ollie Pope thumped an unbeaten double century against Hampshire earlier this month and looks ripe for a recall to the middle order in place of either Roy or Buttler.

Bowling at the James Anderson End… James Anderson?

Chris Woakes has become increasingly peripheral with the ball and Australia have nullified his all-round capabilities with short-pitched assaults. The identity of England's third seamer looks likely to change at Old Trafford.

James Anderson would love to feature at his home ground but must do more to prove his fitness in an outing with Lancashire's second XI this week.

Sam Curran would provide left-arm variety and accomplished batting from number eight in the order, yet may once again miss out on selection.

 

AUSTRALIA

Smith in for who?

Steve Smith could return from his concussion-enforced absence and the tourists are not short of candidates to make way.

Usman Khawaja is without a half-century in the series and his airy 23 during the second innings at Headingley stood as a jarring counterpoint to Marnus Labuschagne's application.

Travis Head and Matthew Wade might also need to help their cause in this week's tour match at Derbyshire.

Starc in for who?

Mitchell Starc has been a spectator so far but could be drafted into the XI to bowl on an Old Trafford surface well-suited to his talents.

The left-arm paceman's relative inability to bowl "dry" means he is an uneasy fit with Australia's overall gameplan, but his expertise against the tail would have been a huge asset in Leeds.

Taking out any seamer involved in rolling England for a first-innings 67 would be harsh, but James Pattinson would appear the most vulnerable.

Marsh an option to bolster attack

For the first time in the series, Australia's four-man attack looked tired as they wilted in the Headingley heat.

The lack of top-six batsmen emphatically stating their case could open the door to Mitchell Marsh. The all-rounder hit two centuries in the last Ashes series in Australia and his right-arm seam would ease the load on a supreme but now-wounded bowling unit.

It was one of the most remarkable centuries ever compiled and yet there was no raise of the bat from Ben Stokes, barely an acknowledgement of the extraordinary feat he had just achieved.

He ushered Jack Leach away from a fist bump and sheepishly flicked his hand in the direction of the England dressing room in the hope of getting them to end their applause.

Stokes was not ungrateful, just a man hellbent on his mission, and at that point the collective goal was still 33 runs away, a dot on the horizon.

"Personal milestones, especially in that situation, mean absolutely nothing," Stokes said later. "There was still a lot more runs to get."

He would strike his next two deliveries for back-to-back sixes. This was a man who had taken 83 balls to reach double figures but had traded in the Morris Minor approach for a style befitting a Ferrari, accelerating away to clinch an incredible one-wicket victory that kept the Ashes alive.

It should also be held up as the reason why Test cricket should not just remain alive, but thrive.

In an era of instant gratification, of 280 characters, of disappearing 'stories' and fast fashion, Test cricket is an outlier. It's a game viewed as too long to be consumed by the masses. Not colourful enough, not loud enough, not thrilling enough.

And yet the third Test between England and Australia was a reminder of its enduring quality. No other sport can match the steady accumulation of intrigue and tension across days, with a myriad of factors that can swing a pendulum this way and that.

How can England have been rolled for 67 inside 28 overs on Friday and then, two days later, amass 362-9? How can Stokes have led the way with 11 boundaries and eight sixes having started the day on two from 50 balls?

Perhaps it should not have been surprising, for this is swiftly turning into the English summer of Stokes.

The last time these two nations met in the Ashes, Stokes was withdrawn from consideration having been arrested for an incident following a fight outside a nightclub in Bristol. Without their talisman, England were beaten 4-0.

Stokes was later cleared of affray and, upon being told he would miss no further England matches in December 2018, he issued a statement that said he "learned lessons that will stay with me for much longer".

Just as England did at Headingley after their first-innings debacle, Stokes was given a second chance and has certainly grabbed it.

It was his brilliance in the Cricket World Cup final which delivered the trophy for England at Lord's last month, and he was the headline act again at Headingley on Sunday when making a brilliant 135 not out.

As his captain Joe Root said: "Games like that just make Test cricket the best."

Football may have 90 minutes of action-packed drama. Super Bowls might have three and a half hours of cat-and-mouse chess. But Stokes reminded everyone that nothing can beat the topsy-turvy theatre of Test match cricket when it's done right.

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