World Cup winner Andre Schurrle has confirmed his retirement at the age of just 29.

Earlier this week the forward's contract at Borussia Dortmund was terminated a year early, Schurrle having made 33 Bundesliga appearances across two seasons for the club before spending campaigns on loan at Fulham and Spartak Moscow.

Now he has confirmed he is stepping away from the sport for good.

Alongside an Instagram picture of him lifting the World Cup with Germany in 2014, Schurrle wrote: "I want to let you know that I'm stepping away from playing professional football !!

"On behalf of myself and my family I want to thank everybody who was a part of these phenomenal years! The support and love you shared with me was unbelievable and more than I could have ever asked for!

"Now I'm ready and open for all the beautiful possibilities that are coming towards me"

It was Schurrle who delivered the cross from which Mario Gotze scored the extra-time winner in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina.

He won 57 caps for his country, scoring 22 times, and played for Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea and Wolfsburg prior to joining Dortmund in 2016.

However, in an interview with Der Spiegel he explained he had now fallen out of love with the game.

"The decision matured in me for a long time," Schurrle said.

"The depths became deeper and the highlights less and less."

Germany will give Lionel Messi a passport if he feels underappreciated by Argentina, joked Lothar Matthaus, who would love to see the Barcelona star in the Bundesliga.

Messi has won 34 trophies with Barca but has been unable to translate that success to the international stage, losing in four major finals, with his country still waiting for a first senior title since 1993.

Coupled with the fact he has lived in Spain for the majority of his life, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has often come in for criticism in Argentina.

Messi is relentlessly compared to compatriot Diego Maradona, who was not as successful at club level but led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986.

Matthaus is baffled by Messi's treatment in his home country and playfully suggested Germany would be more than willing to offer him an alternative.

"I cannot believe it. If you do not like Messi, he can come to Germany any time, we are waiting with open arms and we'll give him a passport. I cannot understand it," Matthaus, who won the World Cup and Ballon d'Or in 1990, told La Nacion.

"It's the same as the discussion about whether Maradona or Messi is better. [Argentina] are lucky to have had these two great players, and they fight over which one is better than the other? Please.

"They have two of the best football players in history."

It has been reported that the deadline has passed for Messi to activate a clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave Barca for free at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old is expected to sign an extension at Camp Nou, but Matthaus would relish seeing him perform in the Bundesliga on a regular basis.

"Of course we'd take him! We'd be very happy if we had a chance to have Leo in the Bundesliga," he said.

"But I'll be honest with you: I'm happy to have Messi in football. He's a great player and a good human being.

"I know him personally and he makes me happy with his style of play."

For Eduardo Camavinga, Ansu Fati, Phil Foden, Joshua Zirkzee and Youssoufa Moukoko, a delayed European Championship may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

The 24-team tournament, which was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, was due to start on Friday. Instead, it will now begin on June 11, 2021.

There is a strong likelihood several nations will have different starting line-ups in 2021, with new stars tipped to emerge.

Using Opta data, we take a look at those uncapped youngsters who might benefit from the Euros being moved back to next year.

 

EDUARDO CAMAVINGA

The central-midfield axis of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante was well-established during France's run to glory at World Cup 2018, though, due to injury, neither man featured regularly in the Euro qualifiers as Didier Deschamps utilised Corentin Tolisso, a bit-part player for Bayern Munich, and Moussa Sissoko, who will soon turn 31.

Teenager Camavinga shot to prominence by dominating in a win over Paris Saint-Germain as a 16-year-old in August. His assist in that game makes him the youngest player to be involved in a goal across Europe's top five leagues this term, and he has since established himself as a regular for high-flying Rennes.

His 64 tackles in Ligue 1 this season is more than any other midfielder in the major European leagues, while he played more than three time as many minutes (2,112) as any other under-18 player in those divisions prior to the COVID-19 suspension.

Already a France Under-21 international, Camavinga has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and, based on his current trajectory, it is easy to see him muscling his way into Deschamps' plans.

 

ANSU FATI

The youngest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League was granted Spanish citizenship in September and it appears only a matter of time before Fati is a senior La Roja international.

There were reports that the Barcelona forward, who was born in Guinea-Bissau, would have been included in the preliminary Spain squad for the March friendlies that were ultimately cancelled.

There were no teenagers in the most recent Spain squad so, at 17, Fati can use the extra time to convince Luis Enrique he is a special case worthy of a regular spot in his selection.

After all, only Lionel Messi (110) and Luis Suarez (125) in the Barca squad have better minutes-per-goal ratios than Fati (202) this season, while the fearless and gifted teenager averages the fourth-most dribble attempts (2.38) per match among Blaugrana players.

PHIL FODEN

You have to be pretty decent if Pep Guardiola has called you "the most talented player" he has ever coached.

Although there have been only fleeting glimpses of Foden in a Manchester City shirt, he has certainly made an impact. In his 11 starts this term, Foden's had a hand in nine goals (seven assists, two goals), while he also has the best minutes-per-assist record (155) across all competitions of Premier League players to have played more than 1,000 minutes.

Regular playing time will surely be less of an issue for the 20-year-old once David Silva departs after the 2019-20 season.

The Spaniard's heir-apparent Foden has already caught the eye for England Under-21s, and might have made the cut for Gareth Southgate's squad in 2020 anyway, but both club and country will have earmarked the classy midfielder for a breakthrough campaign next year.

JOSHUA ZIRKZEE

The enforced break could be considered both a blessing and a curse for Bayern Munich's young Dutch striker Zirkzee.

An injury to Robert Lewandowski had resulted in the 19-year-old starting Bayern's previous two Bundesliga games before the suspension and, having needed just three minutes to score his first two league goals earlier in the season, he was seemingly set to enhance his reputation in the following weeks.

But the season hiatus put paid to that and Lewandowski was fit to return when the campaign resumed, with the Pole typically lethal since. But that doesn't take away from the fact Zirkzee is Bayern's third-youngest Bundesliga goalscorer, as he lays the groundwork for a potential breakthrough season in 2020-21, either at Bayern or on loan elsewhere.

Having only represented Netherlands as high as Under-19 level so far, Zirkzee still has a way to go to force his way into Ronald Koeman's senior squad for competitive fixtures, but another year of development will surely aid his case, particularly given the Oranje's lack of established options in the striker role.

YOUSSOUFA MOUKOKO

A name that may be unfamiliar to many outside of Germany, though perhaps not for much longer given the goalscoring record Borussia Dortmund's 15-year-old prodigy has.

Moukoko netted for the 34th time in his 20th Under-19 Bundesliga game in March, setting a record for the competition, having scored 50 in 28 appearances at U17 level last season.

A Euros this year would have definitely come too soon for Moukoko but Lucien Favre wants the Germany youth international training with his first team soon, and following a regulation change, he will be able to make his debut when he turns 16 in November.

By this time next year, a man already on Joachim Low's radar may just be a long shot for Die Mannschaft's senior team too.

Schalke midfielder Suat Serdar will miss the remainder of the Bundesliga season due to knee ligament damage, his club have confirmed.

The Germany international, who is in his second season with Schalke, had been one of the club's standout performers this season, with his seven goals from midfield making him their top scorer in the Bundesliga.

Serdar had been a regular alongside Weston McKennie in the Schalke midfield and made his 20th appearance of the league season against Augsburg on Sunday.

But he was forced off in the 56th minute of the 3-0 home defeat after injuring his knee, with scans since revealing a partial ligament tear.

Schalke's statement confirmed he will be out for the rest of the 2019-20 season, while head coach David Wagner said he expects the 23-year-old to be sidelined for "at least three to four months".

The news comes as a bitter blow to Schalke, who, after a positive first half to the season have suffered a significant dip in form, failing to win any of their past nine league matches.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is the world's "most complete" goalkeeper, according to his former Barcelona understudy.

With Camp Nou opportunities at a premium, Jordi Masip left Barcelona in 2017 to find first-team football at Real Valladolid.

Masip has gone on to be a fixture in the Valladolid side while keeping tabs on Ter Stegen's continuing development at Barcelona, with the German firmly established as number one.

This week, Masip reflected on whom he considers the world's best glovesmen, and the first to spring to mind was the man who kept him sidelined at Barcelona.

Masip told Stats Perform: "Well, I'm clearly leaning towards Ter Stegen. For me he is clearly the best because he encompasses all facets of the game.

"He's the most complete for my taste. He's the most complete with the feet and with his game in all areas.

"His performance has been reflected in Barca. He was very young when he arrived and has been progressing. For me he's the best right now."

Ter Stegen celebrated his 28th birthday on Thursday, and has emerged as a credible rival to Manuel Neuer with the Germany national team.

He has lifted a remarkable 14 trophies for club and country - 13 for Barca and the Confederations Cup for Germany - since leaving Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014. 

Yet Masip is aware there is another strong contender in Spain to be considered the world's premier shot-stopper: Atletico Madrid's Slovenia international Jan Oblak.

"Oblak is also in great shape, he is another great goalkeeper," Masip said.

"They are two goalkeepers who are in the teams they have to be, they fit perfectly with their respective teams. They're two great ones. They help all the other goalkeepers to look and improve."

A pair of Brazilians, Liverpool's Alisson and Manchester City's Ederson, have also persuaded 31-year-old Masip of their top-level qualities.

The pair have impressed in the Premier League and Champions League alike.

"I also like Alisson and Ederson, the Liverpool and City guys," Masip said. "They came in young, with a lot of desire, they are good and their performances have been reflected in the results of their teams."

A trial involving a number of leading German football officials is to finish without a verdict due to the statute of limitations expiring, leaving FIFA "deeply disappointed".

Franz Beckenbauer was one of four prominent German football figures investigated regarding allegations related to fraud, linked to payments alleged to have been made when the quartet were on the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer was not indicted due to health reasons.

Three German officials - Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach - were due to go on trial, along with former FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi, who is Swiss.

The investigation centred on the use of €7million – later reduced to €6.7m – which was supposed to be used to finance a gala, but was instead, the Swiss attorney general alleged, "to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB [German Football Association]".

A DFB investigation in February 2016, attempting to explain the payments, linked Beckenbauer - who won the World Cup as a player and as a manager - with former FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam and the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who was Adidas chief.

It led to claims the money had been used to purchase votes for the 2006 World Cup, allegations that Beckenbauer strenuously denied. He did accept the use of the funds - for a "FIFA subsidy" - was a mistake.

A statement from Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court confirmed on Tuesday the case could not "be concluded with a judgement" after the statute of limitations expired due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA later insisted it will not give up on justice, with its statement reading: "FIFA is deeply disappointed that the trial related to the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 will not take place because it has now become time barred.

"For its part, FIFA fully cooperated with this investigation over the years, responding to many requests made by the Office of the Attorney General and incurring significant costs and management time in doing so. The fact that the case has now ended without a result of any kind is very worrying, not only for football but also for the administration of justice in Switzerland.

"We hope that the truth around the CHF 10 million payment will one day come to light and that those having committed wrongful acts will be duly sanctioned, if not in Switzerland, then maybe somewhere else.

"For FIFA this case is certainly not over as we cannot and will not accept that a CHF 10 million payment is made from FIFA accounts without a proper reason. Even if this has happened many years ago and was symptomatic for the old FIFA, FIFA's independent ethics committee will continue to investigate on this and other similar matters.

"Furthermore, FIFA will continue to cooperate with all state law enforcement agencies, including those in Switzerland, in the hope and belief that all those responsible for causing harm to football will finally be held to account for their actions and will not be able to hide forever with their ill-gotten gains."

Criminal proceedings for alleged fraud or assistance to fraud in Switzerland cannot be initiated after 15 years have passed.

World-famous for his smooth, distinctively elegant style and deftly-planned, intelligent tactics, Beckenbauer earned the admiration and respect of his fellow football players, coaches and managers.

An incredibly versatile, intelligent and graceful footballer who played in three World Cup finals, Beckenhauer received the honor of being touted "der Kaiser" or "Emperor Franz".

He also achieved international fame by inventing the modern position of the attacking sweeper (also known as "libero"), a key player whose role is to initiate the offense from central defense using powerful long runs and incisive passes.

To vote for Beckenbauer to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone today as Brent Sancho, Howie Bell, and Colin Murray take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30 pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

Playing Career

Full name            Franz Anton Beckenbauer

 

Date of birth          11 September 1945 (age 74)

Place of birth         Munich, Allied-occupied Germany

Height   1.81 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in

 

International team

1965–1977       West Germany      103       (14)

 

Honours

FIFA World Cup: 1974

UEFA European Championship: 1972

FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award: 1966

FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot: 1966

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1966, 1970, 1974

FIFA XI: 1968[51]

FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 1974

FIFA Order of Merit: 1984[52]

FIFA World Cup All-Time Team: 1994

 

 

FIFA World Cup – 3 appearances

 

Second                1966 England

 

 Third                   1970 Mexico

 

Winner                1974 Germany

 

Club Career

1964–1977       Bayern Munich      427       (60)

1977–1980       New York Cosmos 80  (17)

1980–1982       Hamburger SV 28  (0)

1983     New York Cosmos 25  (2)

 

Honours

Bayern Munich

Bundesliga: 1968–69, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74

DFB-Pokal: 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1970–71

European Cup: 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1966–67

Intercontinental Cup: 1976

Hamburger SV

Bundesliga: 1981–82

New York Cosmos

North American Soccer League: 1977, 1978, 1980

 

Individual

Ballon d'Or: 1972, 1976

German Footballer of the Year: 1966, 1968, 1974, 1976

kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77: 2017

World Team of the 20th Century: 1998

FIFA Order of Merit: 1984

FIFA World Cup All-Time Team: 1994

Barcelona are prepared to use Antoine Griezmann in a deal to land Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, 28, has constantly been linked with a return to Camp Nou, but ended up staying at PSG during the last close season.

It seems Barcelona will pursue the Brazil international again and they may be prepared to offer Griezmann in a deal.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO OFFER GRIEZMANN TO PSG IN NEYMAR DEAL

Despite it proving such an ordeal to sign Griezmann in the first place, Barca will try to use him as a makeweight in a deal to land Neymar, according to Sky Sports.

The report says the Spanish giants are prepared to let Griezmann go just one season after signing him from Atletico Madrid, as they reportedly also target Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

Barca will try to sell the forward elsewhere if PSG are not interested, the story claims, with the Frenchman underwhelming since his switch to Camp Nou.

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are apparently preparing for a battle with Germany. The Mirror reports Germany see Jurgen Klopp – contracted at Anfield until 2024 – as a successor to coach Joachim Low.

Manchester United remain interested in Erling Haaland. ESPN claims the Premier League club are again ready to compete for the forward's services with Real Madrid if the Norway international decides to leave Borussia Dortmund.

- Will Gareth Bale remain at Real Madrid? The Mirror suggests the Wales international is ready to fight for his place at the Santiago Bernabeu despite his differences with coach Zinedine Zidane.

Saul Niguez is apparently wanted in the Premier League. AS says Man United are willing to pay around £71million (€80m) for the Atletico midfielder, who has a release clause of £132.5m (€150m).

Barcelona may be prepared to sell players this close season, but Arthur will not be among them. Sport reports the Spanish champions see the midfielder as a key player. Meanwhile, it is also claimed Gent star Jonathan David has been offered to the Blaugrana.

Juventus have reportedly secured the futures of two players. Rai Sport understands Blaise Matuidi has extended his contract with Juve until 2021, while Marko Pjaca – who is on loan at Anderlecht – has agreed to a deal until 2023.

Ex-Germany captain Philipp Lahm has warned football is in an "existential crisis" and players' behaviour will face intense public scrutiny during the coronavirus crisis.

The 2014 World Cup-winning skipper says German football in particular must protect its core strengths during the leagues' lockdown.

With no prospect of a swift resumption, the Bundesliga season has been suspended until April 30, although that is also likely to be set back.

Lahm, in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, has urged footballers to show a social conscience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the game's stars have given large donations to charity, while clubs, suddenly hit by a financial crisis, have sought for players to accept significant pay cuts until they can return to work.

The willingness to make sacrifices is one that 36-year-old former Bayern Munich great Lahm believes will be closely watched by fans.

"Football can even emerge stronger from the crisis under one condition: if players and officials act as role models in public through their social behaviour," Lahm said.

"The fundraisers of coaches and players show they have a sense of responsibility. It's a good time to give something back to the society that carries our sport and the people who love football."

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski and his wife Anna have made a €1million donation to a coronavirus-fighting fund, with a number of team-mates also contributing major sums.

Lahm, who retired from playing in 2017, said: "Football is just at the moment in an existential crisis, so solidarity is needed."

He spoke in the interview of the need to "maintain structures that characterise German football", including its youth development, stadiums, training set-ups and public approval.

Like everyone, Lahm is waiting for the day football can safely resume.

"Football will recover quickly," he added, "as soon as the risk of transmission is contained by an appropriate vaccine."

Manuel Neuer turned 34 on Friday, but the Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper is still going strong.

Captain for both club and country, Neuer has helped Bayern to seven straight Bundesliga titles, plus a Champions League triumph, and also won the World Cup six years ago.

Despite intense pressure from Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the former Schalke star remains Germany's number one.

And Neuer is adamant he will maintain a starting role at Bayern next season after the arrival of Alexander Nubel, even if the veteran was linked to Chelsea this week.

To mark his birthday, we take a look at the key numbers - with the help of Opta - from a career that shows no signs of slowing.
 

576 - Neuer has made more senior club appearances - for Schalke and Bayern - in all competitions than any other Bundesliga player since 2006-07.

92 - The keeper is closing on a century of Germany caps since his June 2009 debut. He has been captain since September 2016.

5 - Just four other goalkeepers in Bundesliga history - Richard Golz, Gerhard Heinze, Eike Immel, Ulrich Stein - have made at least 150 appearances for two different clubs. Neuer played 156 times for Schalke, before turning out for Bayern on 241 occasions.

188 - Oliver Kahn (196) is the only goalkeeper to have kept more Bundesliga clean sheets than Neuer.

0 - No keeper can better Neuer's tally of 188 clean sheets in Europe's top five leagues since 2006-07. Former Bayern team-mate Pepe Reina is second on that list with 171.

47 - Of Bundesliga goalkeepers to have played at least four games, Neuer (47 per cent) has the best clean sheet rate. He has kept a clean sheet in 52 per cent of his league games for Bayern.

0.78 - Neuer concedes the fewest goals per game of any keeper with at least five appearances in Bundesliga history. Again, that statistic improves further to just 0.65 goals per game when playing for Bayern.

20 - The World Cup winner holds the record for the most clean sheets in a Bundesliga season, achieved in both 2014-15 and 2015-16. He surpassed Kahn's 2001-02 benchmark of 19.

107 - Since his Champions League debut in 2007-08, Neuer is the only goalkeeper to tally over a century of appearances in the competition.

42 - Neuer has also kept the most Champions League clean sheets in this time.

35 - Earlier this season, Neuer surpassed Kahn (33) for Champions League clean sheets for Bayern. He is one shy of Kahn's record DFB-Pokal tally of 33 clean sheets.

76 - Since detailed data collection began in 2004-05, Neuer has the best passing accuracy percentage of all goalkeepers with at least 20 Bundesliga appearances.

1 - Neuer has played only once on his birthday, keeping a clean sheet as Schalke beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 away from home in 2010.

0 - Despite his regular forays outside the penalty area, Neuer has never been sent off.

For Eduardo Camavinga, Ansu Fati, Phil Foden, Joshua Zirkzee and Youssoufa Moukoko, a delayed European Championship may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

It was confirmed this week that the 24-team tournament, which will be staged across the continent in a dozen countries, will be postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The likelihood is that several nations will have different starting line-ups in 2021 as new stars emerge.

We take a look at those uncapped youngsters who could now break into their country's team for the Euros.

 

EDUARDO CAMAVINGA

The central-midfield axis of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante was well established during France's run to glory at World Cup 2018, though, due to injury, neither man featured regularly in the Euro qualifiers as Didier Deschamps utilised Corentin Tolisso, a bit-part player for Bayern Munich, and Moussa Sissoko, who is about to turn 31.

Teenager Camavinga shot to prominence by dominating in a win over Paris Saint-Germain as a 16-year-old in August and he has been a regular for a Rennes side riding high in third in Ligue 1.

Already a France Under-21 international, Camavinga has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and, based on his current trajectory, it is easy to see him muscling his way into Deschamps' plans.

 

ANSU FATI

The youngest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League was granted Spanish citizenship in September and it appears only a matter of time before Fati is a senior La Roja international.

There were reports that the Barcelona forward, who was born in Guinea-Bissau, would have been included in the preliminary Spain squad for these March friendlies had they taken place.

However, there were no teenagers in the most recent Spain squad so, at 17, Fati can use the extra time to convince Luis Enrique he is a special case worthy of a regular spot in his XI.

PHIL FODEN

You have to be pretty decent if Pep Guardiola has called you "the most talented player" he has ever coached.

Despite that claim, there have been only fleeting glimpses of Foden in a Manchester City shirt, though regular playing time will surely be less of an issue for the 19-year-old once David Silva departs after the 2019-20 season.

His heir apparent Foden has already caught the eye for England Under-21s, and might have made the cut for Gareth Southgate's squad in 2020 anyway, but both club and country will have earmarked the classy midfielder for a breakthrough campaign next year.

JOSHUA ZIRKZEE

This enforced break could be considered both a blessing and a curse for Bayern Munich's young Dutch striker Zirkzee.

An injury to Robert Lewandowski had resulted in the 18-year-old starting Bayern's previous two Bundesliga games before the suspension and, having scored three times in 170 minutes already, he could have enhanced his reputation further in the coming weeks.

However, having only represented Netherlands at Under-19 level so far, Zirkzee still has a way to go to force his way into Ronald Koeman's senior XI for competitive fixtures. Another year of development will surely aid his case, particularly at a footballing behemoth like Bayern. 

YOUSSOUFA MOUKOKO

A name that may be unfamiliar to many outside of Germany, though perhaps not for much longer given the ridiculous goalscoring record Borussia Dortmund's 15-year-old prodigy has.

Moukoko netted for the 34th time in his 20th Under-19 Bundesliga game earlier this month, setting a new record for the competition, having scored 50 in 28 appearances at U17 level last season.

An on-time Euros would have definitely come too soon for Moukoko but Lucien Favre wants the Germany youth international training with his first team soon. By this time next year, a man already on Joachim Low's radar may just be a long shot for Die Mannschaft's senior team too.

Germany boss Joachim Low says the world is suffering a "collective burnout" as the coronavirus pandemic brings undesirable truths of modern culture into focus.

In a news conference conducted by video link on Wednesday, Low said he had been given pause for thought by the crisis, which by Wednesday had caused close to 9,000 deaths.

He said it had brought home to him how important family and friends are, towering above power and profit lines.

Governments are fighting to contain the spread of the COVID-19 bug, while large parts of the global community are retreating into lockdown and self-isolation.

"The last few days have kept me very busy and very thoughtful," said Low. "The world has a collective burnout. Not just individuals, but everyone. I felt that the world or the Earth is a little bit stubborn and resisting against the people. People always think that somehow they know everything, can do everything.

"The speed, which we humans have set in the last years, could not be increased. Power, greed, profit, even better results and records were in the foreground.  Environmental disasters or the forest fires in Australia only touched us in passing. Diseases, Ebola from Africa got stuck somewhere.

"Now we have experienced something that affects every single person and the whole of humanity.

"And now we realise in this time that we also have to look at important things."

The Germany national team have made a €2.5million donation to the fight to beat the virus.

"We are discovering what counts, namely family, friends, fellow human beings, how we treat each other, how we respect each other," said 60-year-old Low. "That these are things that also count in life. And that is what we have to look at first and foremost."

The Germany national team have made a €2.5million donation to help fight the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.

Germany is one of the many countries suffering the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, with World Health Organization figures showing over 7,000 cases and 13 deaths in the country as of Wednesday.

In a statement from Die Mannschaft, which doubled as a rallying call for all to provide help where possible, the team also praised the efforts of those who have already done their bit for the cause.

"The world of football has come to a stop - people's health and tackling this virus is without question the number one priority right now," read a statement.

"We realise that for so many of you, things have not come to a stop and must keep going.

"We have all seen the effort and the commitment that you have shown, how you have supported and helped one another - in hospitals, nursing homes, in supermarkets and in your community, from one neighbour to another. It's inspiring!

"This showing of solidarity has never been more important, and we as a team want to do our bit to help.

"That is why we have decided to donate 2.5 million euros to the cause to help out immediately.

"Every kind act and offer of help counts. It's up to all of us to make a difference. Stay health and look after each other and yourselves."

The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar on Saturday with more major events and competitions being disrupted.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the globe, it has resulted in the postponement of competitions worldwide as governments attempt to combat the pandemic.

A small number of events still went ahead, but sports stars, teams and indeed supporters were otherwise left to find other means of entertainment.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 155,000, we round up all the latest news and updates.

 

Germany's prestige friendly with Italy later this month became the latest football fixture to bite the dust, with the majority of upcoming international matches having now been wiped out.

More major organisations have halted all footballing activities until a later date, including Qatar, Morocco and Egypt.

A small number of competitions, most notably the A-League, Russian Premier League and Mexico's Liga MX, did manage to go ahead as planned.

Indeed, NRL games also avoided the cut, as did a handful of Super Rugby matches before an indefinite ban was put in place later in the day.

Another competition to fall was Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand, which was already being played behind closed doors.

With New Zealand's government introducing strict protocols to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the Black Caps – along with Super Rugby side Highlanders – returned home from Australia and Argentina respectively in order to beat the new restrictions, which will mean any new arrival to the country, even if they are a citizen, has to self-isolate for 14 days.

With the top-four tiers of English football being shelved until at least early April, there was plenty of focus on the National League as six games were given the green light.

There was some controversy in Argentina as River Plate's Copa Superliga clash with Atletico Tucuman was suspended after the home side refused to open their stadium.

Independiente's tie with Velez Sarsfield was played out in full, albeit behind closed doors, with the hosts claiming a 1-0 victory.

In Italy, Napoli urged their supporters to sing from their balconies in unison as Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and two more Sampdoria players tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy revealed a negative test result after recently self-isolating, but Carlo Ancelotti and Angelo Ogbonna questioned the Premier League's handling of the outbreak, while Jordan Pickford denied reports he is self-isolating.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, meanwhile, claimed the competition should be "void" – a suggestion Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher quickly dismissed.

The lack of football did not stop certain clubs from keeping supporters entertained, though, with LaLiga side Leganes posting live updates of a fictitious match against Real Valladolid, which they won 2-1.

Perhaps inspired by their Spanish counterparts, Southampton got Manchester City involved in an online game of noughts and crosses to help fill the void.

The downtime also gave football stars a chance to recuperate, with Sergio Ramos and Alexis Sanchez among those to post images of their extra-curricular activities.

Others, such as Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, opted to use social media to educate their followers on how to properly wash their hands, while Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi used his profile to echo the sentiments of Cristiano Ronaldo in calling for people to follow the guidance of health organisations.

As Ronaldo and Jurgen Klopp were praised by the World Health Organisation for "protecting people from coronavirus", former United States president Barack Obama hailed a host of NBA stars – including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson – for donating large amounts to help support arena staff during the league's hiatus.

UFC superstar Conor McGregor labelled the pandemic "a stupid f****** virus", but later moved to clarify his aunt did not die after contracting the disease after previously suggesting as such.

And in more positive news, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe revealed his country still plan for the 2020 Olympic Games to go ahead in Tokyo, starting in late July.

The International Olympic Committee will have the final say, but ABE is confident the Games will be staged "without problem".

Italy's scheduled upcoming friendly in Germany has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, the German Football Association (DFB) has confirmed.

Sport in Italy - including Serie A - has been shut down until April 3, with the country suffering over 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,266 deaths - the worst figures outside of China.

Meanwhile, the Bundesliga has also been suspended. Germany has close to 4,000 cases and eight deaths.

International football has been allowed to continue, in theory, although FIFA has recommended the postponement of fixtures.

An international break is set for the weekend before April 3, yet clubs will no longer be required to release their players following a FIFA Council decision.

And with events of more than 100 people banned in Nuremberg, where Italy were set to face Germany, the March 31 fixture has unsurprisingly been called off.

Italy's friendly meeting with England was postponed on Friday.

Further calls on international fixtures are anticipated, with World Cup qualifiers in Asia and South America already pushed back.

Top-flight football is continuing behind closed doors in Serbia, but Football Association of Serbia (FSS) president Slavisa Kokeza has now tested positive for coronavirus.

"We want to emphasise that the president of the football organisation is under medical supervision and is well and the Football Association is continuing its regular activities," a statement from the FSS read.

Serbia have a Euro 2020 play-off against Norway in the diary for March 26, although UEFA is set to make a call on the scheduling of the finals in a meeting on Tuesday.

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.