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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Bolt a 'massive fan' of Ronaldo but likens himself to Messi

Football Briefs: Bolt a 'massive fan' of Ronaldo but likens himself to Messi

Last updated on: March 22, 2018 19:53 IST

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Usain Bolt

IMAGE: Usain Bolt in action during the Match of Friendship in Basel, Switzerland. Photograph: Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images For Hublot

Former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who is all set to swap his spikes for studs, has said that though he is a 'massive fan' of Real Madrid star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, his natural talent is more similar to that of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

 

The 31-year-old, who has won eight Olympic gold medals in his illustrious career that ended in 2017, is all set to give playing football a serious try out when he joins the Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund this week.

Talking ahead of an open training session with his first football team, Bolt said that he is a big fan of Ronaldo, but he has more in common with Messi, saying they both benefited from a natural ability.

"Messi is very talented.From what I've learned and listened to over the years, Cristiano had to work to get where he is. I was born with speed and had a lot of talent (like Messi)," goal.com quoted Bolt, as saying.

Meanwhile, Bolt said that he is now determined to use his stint with Borussia Dortmunds as a platform to achieve his ultimate dream of playing for his beloved club Manchester United.

"I don't know what to expect (at Dortmund). I'm going to try my best, as always. I'm a very determined person when I want something so I'm going to go there and do my best. For me, my best is always good enough," he said.

"I would love to play for the team (Manchester United), to give it some thought and see where it goes. After the trials I then have a base to tell him (Jose Mourinho) I can do this, I can do that," the Jamaican sprinter added.

The eight-time Olympic Gold winner, who holds the world record for the 100m (9.58 seconds), the 200m (19.19 seconds) and the 4x100m relay (36.84 seconds) besides having 11 World Championship titles to his name, retired from athletics following the 2017 World Championships.

Record-breaking Bale nets hat-trick in Giggs' debut as Wales boss

Gareth Bale

IMAGE: Gareth Bale of Wales celebrates. Photograph: Reuters

Wales midfielder Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick to become the country's top goalscorer in a 6-0 victory over China on Thursday that gave Ryan Giggs a winning start to life as an international manager.

Bale, who took his international tally to 29 goals and ahead of former striker Ian Rush, struck in the second minute of the China Cup opener against the hosts in Nanning and added a second on 21 minutes. He sealed his hat-trick after the hour mark.

The Real Madrid player's maiden international hat-trick was also the first by a Wales player since striker Robert Earnshaw's effort against Scotland in 2004 and the country's first away from home since winger Cliff Jones' feat in 1963 in Belfast against Northern Ireland.

"I suppose when I was a little boy I never dreamed of being a record-breaker for Wales. It is a massive honour," Bale said.

"I was not thinking about it, but now it has come it's an incredible honour and one of the best things I've achieved in my career... on a personal note it's great to break the record, but I could not have done it without my team mates."

Striker Sam Vokes added two goals while winger Harry Wilson also got on the scoresheet to complete the rout in Giggs' first game since he was appointed in January.

Uruguay and Czech Republic, the other two teams in the competition, face off on Friday for the chance to meet Wales in Monday's final.

Sanchez expected more from himself after Man United move

Alexis Sanchez

IMAGE: Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Alexis Sanchez says he expected a lot more from himself since moving to Manchester United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in January.

The Chile international, who has scored just once in 10 appearances for United, said he has high expectations for himself and that he has struggled to adapt after the "abrupt" January transfer window move.

"Because I demand a lot from myself, I was hoping for something better," Sanchez told reporters while on national duty in Sweden. "After my arrival at United, it was hard to change everything very quickly...

"The change of club was something that was very abrupt -- it was the first time I've changed clubs in January -- but many things have happened in my life that are difficult."

The 29-year-old says he considered withdrawing from the national team squad for upcoming friendlies to stay at United and work on his game but a conversation with Chile captain Claudio Bravo changed his mind.

"I had asked permission to miss these games, but then I thought better and spoke with Claudio and told him that we should all be united," Sanchez added.

Chile, who failed to qualify for this year's World Cup finals in Russia, play friendlies against Sweden on Saturday and Denmark three days later.

West Ham hand out five life bans over stadium trouble

West Ham

IMAGE: A pitch invader confronts Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham United whilst he is tackled by a steward. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

West Ham United issued lifetime bans to five individuals on Thursday for invading the pitch at the London Stadium during their 3-0 Premier League defeat by Burnley earlier this month.

Disgruntled supporters invaded the pitch during the club's 14th league defeat of the season, while verbal abuse and coins were hurled at owners David Sullivan and David Gold.

"West Ham United can confirm that swift and decisive action has been taken against a number of spectators who breached stadium regulations or were found to have committed acts of severe violence and physical aggression at our recent Premier League match against Burnley," the club said in a statement.

An unspecified number of supporters have also been banned for life for "violently throwing coins or objects with intent to injure or harm on the bridge directly in front of the Directors' Box", the club added.

West Ham said the investigation into the incidents remained ongoing and that the club expected to issue further bans before their next home game against Southampton on March 31.

The club are two points above the relegation zone in 17th place in the table.

Iniesta says Barca future uncertain

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta remains unsure whether he will leave Barcelona this season to move to China.

The 33-year-old playmaker last week told local media he had an offer from a Chinese club and said a decision had to be taken on his future before the end of April.

“There are a lot of thoughts going on in my head, some stronger than others,” he told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, with his comments reported by local media on Thursday.

“There are still a few weeks to decide whether I continue or not, and it’s one of the most important decisions in my career.”

Iniesta signed a "lifetime contract" at the Catalan side in October, but his playing time has grown limited due to a combination of injuries and the arrival of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool.

"I’m at an age where things change and other doors open and they’re exciting in many ways. It’s not a question of love, rather what I feel I have to do. I honestly feel that injury permitting I’d be in the starting 11 for Barca over the next two seasons," Iniesta said.

"If I go it’ll be because I can’t give my all as a player and person at my club. It’s going to be a difficult decision, whatever I choose."

Wilshere fought for Arsenal place after Wenger said he could leave

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was told by manager Arsene Wenger that he was free to leave the Premier League club before the start of the season but the 26-year-old opted to fight for his place.

The England international has struggled to hold down a starting place in recent years after battling serious injuries and spent the last campaign on loan at Bournemouth before sustaining a season-ending leg fracture in April.

Wilshere was told he could leave with around a month remaining in the summer transfer window but felt offers from other clubs were not enticing enough and he had yet to regain full fitness.

"It was an honest conversation," Wilshere told British media. "He (Wenger) said, 'I am going to be honest with you and at the moment we are not going to be offering you a contract, so if you can get a contract somewhere else, you can go'.

"Obviously, I was not happy with that but at the same time I was happy he was being honest.

"He also said at the same time that if I did stay I had an opportunity to fight for my place, and if I performed well in the League Cup and Europa League, I had a chance."

Wilshere has fought to regain his first team spot, making 31 appearances for the club this season and earning an England call-up for the first time since 2016.

The midfielder's contract expires at the end of the season and Wilshere is keen to seal his future before the World Cup finals begin in June.

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