Sports

Dani Alves – from 43 trophies to four years in prison
Sports

Dani Alves – from 43 trophies to four years in prison

Dani Alves, who was this morning sentenced to four and a half years in prison in Spain after being found guilty of sexual assault, was, until very recently, one of global football’s golden boys.An exuberant, technical right-back, he was a major part of the Barcelona team that set new standards in the European game between 2008 and 2016. He played 126 times for Brazil and won 43 titles across his 22-year playing career — an astonishing number that makes him the second-most decorated footballer in history. Only Lionel Messi, his former team-mate at the Camp Nou, has more trophies to his name.That success, coupled with a relentlessly upbeat public persona, made Alves a hugely — almost universally — popular figure. It goes some way to explaining why his hearing, which took place over three day...
Robert Lewandowski was Barcelona’s big post-Messi gamble. It hasn’t entirely paid off
Sports

Robert Lewandowski was Barcelona’s big post-Messi gamble. It hasn’t entirely paid off

“Everything Robert won at Bayern Munich, the goals he scored, it was all with the aim of ending up where he is now: playing for Barcelona.”Robert Lewandowski’s career has been full of targets, but two summers ago he fulfilled what is fair to describe as his ultimate ambition. The quote above comes from a source very close to the 35-year-old striker — who, like all those cited in this article, preferred to speak anonymously to protect relationships.Signing for Barca was a longstanding aim of Lewandowski’s. But since joining for €45million (£38.5m; $48.7m at current rates) in July 2022, not everything has turned as rosily as he might have expected. This season has not been his greatest, and uncertainty has developed around his position at the club — even though this week’s Champions League r...
The fearless mindset of the Warriors’ Brandin Podziemski: ‘He’s got a delusion to him’
Sports

The fearless mindset of the Warriors’ Brandin Podziemski: ‘He’s got a delusion to him’

SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly a year ago on the dot, Mike Dunleavy, the Golden State Warriors’ future general manager, and Kent Lacob, an ascending front office personnel voice, hopped in a car and made the quick 50 mile trip south to Santa Clara’s campus.They were primarily there to see Maxwell Lewis, the possible lottery pick out of Pepperdine. Lewis played fine. He’d eventually get selected 40th in the 2023 NBA Draft. But he wasn’t the best player on the floor. Brandin Podziemski, a 6-foot-4 guard who was only beginning to creep onto the draft radar, made every significant play to lead Santa Clara to victory. His 23 points mattered. But it was the 18 rebounds that had Dunleavy’s and Lacob’s antennas up.“Mike and I walked out of the game like, ‘Um, that guy might be a first-round pick,'” Lacob ...
Does the PGA Tour have a juice problem, and will Sunday solve it?
Sports

Does the PGA Tour have a juice problem, and will Sunday solve it?

LOS ANGELES — It was all going to be so perfect. It had stars. It had records. It had one of the most beautiful stages in all of sports in prime time. It was supposed to be the PGA Tour’s big day.Two weeks ago up in Pebble Beach, Wyndham Clark shot a third-round 60 to break the historic course’s record and take the lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The tour couldn’t have drawn up a better Sunday — in theory. It was the off week before the Super Bowl, meaning it practically had the sports calendar to itself. It made the tournament a signature event, meaning one of golf’s most iconic venues had all the best players on tour competing. And suddenly it had the reigning U.S. Open champ — the star of the new season of golf’s Netflix show, “Full Swing” — Clark going into a Sunday duel with...
Intensity, alter egos and ‘Benjamin Button’: Dan Hurley’s quest to become king of two in a row at UConn
Sports

Intensity, alter egos and ‘Benjamin Button’: Dan Hurley’s quest to become king of two in a row at UConn

STORRS, Conn. — It is 1 p.m. on a dismal January afternoon and, aside from a few managers, Gampel Pavilion is empty. The Connecticut players have finished reviewing film but have yet to shuffle in from the practice facility across the street. Dan Hurley stands a few steps behind halfcourt. He’s wearing gray sweats, a hoodie, a UConn beanie and a pair of reflector sunglasses. He would like it noted that he wore the sunglasses “way before Coach Prime.’’Hurley starts launching halfcourt shots, cursing under his breath when the first few attempts clank off the backboard or, worse, airball short of the basket entirely. The Huskies stream in, clomping down the stairs to the court, and Hurley, still in his getup, keeps shooting.Finally, the ball swishes through the net and Hurley shouts, to no on...
Kylian Mbappe is leaving PSG: Thank god that’s finally over
Sports

Kylian Mbappe is leaving PSG: Thank god that’s finally over

Ice ages haven’t lasted as long as this.Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid… it has been a thing for about a decade at least.The Athletic was not even in existence when the pair began courting each other. Twitter was still fun (and called Twitter), Taylor Swift hadn’t heard of American football and the closest thing we got to a global pandemic was from watching Contagion.It has been an inexorably long saga, the very worst kind of transfer saga in fact, with endless posturing, incessant lies and spin and thousands upon thousands of stories claiming that it is finally happening.Well now, once and for all, it surely is. Mbappe will leave PSG and you’d have to assume that next season, he will play in the Bernabeu (assuming another club doesn’t have the opportunity to pip them and he ends up at, say, ...
How Maple Leafs staff helped save a rec-leaguer from a skate cut to the throat: ‘I thought I was going to die’
Sports

How Maple Leafs staff helped save a rec-leaguer from a skate cut to the throat: ‘I thought I was going to die’

It was inside the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room that Ike Werner first allowed himself to believe he was going to survive.After having his throat cut accidentally by a skate blade during a Sunday afternoon rec league game at the NHL team’s practice facility earlier this month, a terrifying experience turned surreal when the 37-year-old looked over and saw Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson receiving treatment in an adjacent room.“That was my visual,” Werner told The Athletic. “Him being worked on.”Werner had taken note of the luxury cars behind the gated section of the parking lot when he pulled into Ford Performance Centre that afternoon. The Zamboni was resurfacing the ice earlier than usual, too, so he figured the Leafs had skated on Rink 2 before his “Prestige Worldwide” team faced ...
Super Bowl 2025 odds: 49ers are early favorites; Chiefs, Ravens and Bills among top teams
Sports

Super Bowl 2025 odds: 49ers are early favorites; Chiefs, Ravens and Bills among top teams

The Chiefs beat the 49ers in overtime to win Super Bowl LVIII. Is it too early to start looking ahead to Super Bowl LVIX held in New Orleans? Never. The San Francisco 49ers are Super Bowl favorites at +500 on BetMGM, despite losing to the Kansas City Chiefs (+700 to repeat) in Super Bowl 58. The Baltimore Ravens (+850), Buffalo Bills (+1200) and Detroit Lions (+1200) have the next-best odds.Of course, the Chiefs are still one of the favorites to win the AFC. It’s assumed that general manager Brett Veach will do everything in his power to find help for Patrick Mahomes after the offense’s struggles for most of the regular season.Along with the Chiefs, the Ravens, Bills and Bengals are the favorites from the AFC. The Jets have worse odds now (+3000) than they did at this time last season (+25...
Caitlin Clark’s green-light range made her the gold standard in women’s college basketball
Sports

Caitlin Clark’s green-light range made her the gold standard in women’s college basketball

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when it was determined in Iowa that any shot that left Caitlin Clark’s hands was not just a reasonable shot, but also a good shot. Because there are green lights, and then there are green lights. And Clark has matter-of-factly operated in the latter for much of her career.But there’s a solid argument to be made that it was Feb. 6, 2022.It was Clark’s sophomore season, and while she had been putting up big numbers, she wasn’t yet considered the one-woman wrecking crew that she has now become. To get to that level of lore, a player needs to not just throw the rocks but slay Goliath. And at that point, though she was a massive scorer, she was on a team that hadn’t yet taken down the best opponents. The Hawkeyes were 1-9 against to...
A Taylor Swift love story: How pop icon is bringing a new, young audience to the NFL
Sports

A Taylor Swift love story: How pop icon is bringing a new, young audience to the NFL

Arrie Flathouse took her first steps to Taylor Swift’s hit song “Tim McGraw.”The pop icon was a constant part of the now 16-year-old Arrie’s childhood as she grew up in the Houston area with two older sisters who adored Swift. Arrie came to love Swift, too, dressing up as her for Halloween and listening to her albums.GO DEEPERWhat Taylor Swift songs capture the 2023 NFL season: Dear John, Karma, Anti-HeroArrie never got much into football, though, despite having a mom, Kara, who spent her weekends tuned into college and NFL games. That included games played by the Chiefs since Kara, like Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is a Texas Tech alum. Despite Kara’s attempts to get her daughters interested, football never clicked with Arrie, so Kara usually spent those weekend afternoons wat...