From CR7 to CR9: Ronaldo & Sarri in holiday meeting to plot star striker’s ‘new role at Juve’


From CR7 to CR9: Ronaldo & Sarri in holiday meeting to plot star striker’s ‘new role at Juve’

New Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has met Cristiano Ronaldo in the South of France to plot an even more lethal attacking role for the star striker, according to reports in Italy.

After his official unveiling at Juventus on Thursday, Sarri wasted no time in arranging to meet the Portuguese superstar, jetting off to join him as the forward suns himself on a holiday break aboad a yacht in the French Riveria.

Sarri is said to have told Ronaldo he wants to see him operate more in a ‘number 9’ role, closer to the opposition goal rather than out on the wing, in the belief that will allow him to be even more productive.It was in the South of France on Friday that Sarri and Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici caught up with Ronaldo to discuss plans for next season, according to numerous reports in the Italian press.

The Italian manager is also prepared to allow his star forward – who arrived from Real Madrid last summer for a fee of around €100 million ($117 million) – more tactical freedom, which is said to have met with the Portuguese star’s approval.

Also on ‘I want to help Ronaldo break more records’ – Sarri sets out stall at Juventus unveilingIn reality, while Ronaldo has stuck with the number 7 shirt he has been synonymous with since his days at Manchester United, with age he has transformed from a marauding winger to more of an out-and-out striker.

The 34-year-old netted 21 goals in his first Serie A season, but the personal target for the Portuguese serial record breaker will be Gonzalo Higuain’s record haul of 36 goals in a season, set while playing under Sarri at Napoli in 2015-16.

Sarri said at his Juventus unveiling on Thursday that he wants to help five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo “break even more records” as they bid to win a ninth consecutive Seria A title and, more importantly, end the club’s 20-year wait for European silverware.

ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Durham
Sri Lanka 338-6 (50 overs): Fernando 104, Holder 2-59
West Indies 315-9 (50 overs): Pooran 118, Malinga 3-55
Sri Lanka won by 23 runs

Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow shake hands in the middle while batting for England

Slightly built, Fernando favoured precise strokeplay over power in the mould of Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene, but he was still able to dispatch Sheldon Cottrell for two sixes into the leg side, one measured at 83 metres.

The Windies were guilty of five no-balls, the highest in an innings at this tournament and it was a mammoth overstep from Oshane Thomas that allowed Lahiru Thirimanne a reprieve after he clipped straight to mid-wicket.

Thirimanne advanced down the wicket to thump successive boundaries in the next over as the Sri Lanka middle order all contributed to an impressive total – their previous highest in the competition had been 247 in an 87-run defeat by Australia at The Oval.

However, after Malinga struck twice in his opening three overs, it was the brilliance of Pooran that looked set to rescue the mercurial Windies, who had Barbadian pop star Rihanna cheering them on enthusiastically from the stands.

Pooran, the stylish Trinidadian left-hander, reached his fifty with a six, and with Allen also striking the ball cleanly for his maiden half-century, West Indies looked favourites as Sri Lanka’s attack began to wilt and show a lack of depth.

But the pivotal moment came when Mathews, in his first one-day international spell for 561 days, lured Pooran into a full-blooded cut that, for once, was not struck sweetly and the ball was gleefully pouched behind the stumps.

Sri Lanka will surely rue two washed-out matches earlier in the tournament, because even if they beat India in their final match and reach 10 points, they would not go through as other teams have more wins.

World Cup group table
Rank Team P W L T NR RR Pts
1 Australia (Q) 8 7 1 0 0 1 14
2 India 7 5 1 0 1 0.854 11
3 New Zealand 8 5 2 0 1 0.572 11
4 England 8 5 3 0 0 1 10
5 Pakistan 8 4 3 0 1 -0.792 9
6 Sri Lanka 8 3 3 0 2 -0.934 8
7 Bangladesh 7 3 3 0 2 -0.133 7
8 South Africa 8 2 5 0 1 -0.08 5
9 West Indies 8 1 6 0 1 -0.335 3
10 Afghanistan 8 0 8 0 0 -1.418 0

‘Angelo put his hands up’

Sri Lanka captain Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne: “To win any match is a great feeling. It gives us lots of confidence. All of the players are doing really well. That is what I was expecting as a captain.

“Angelo put his hands up and said: ‘OK I will bowl two overs.’ He has that confidence. He did the job. I don’t think he is going to bowl much more, but if it is a crucial time he might bowl a couple of overs.”

West Indies skipper Jason Holder: “We started slowly out of the blocks; we gave up a lot of runs in the field and that really hurts you. We were sloppy. We have to be better. This entire tournament we have let key moments slip.

“I felt 338 was about par, it was free-scoring. It was a matter of us getting in and playing some shots. Pooran had an outstanding knock. He gave himself a chance and went deep. The run-outs were crucial. We were one or two partnerships away.”

US Open 2019: Johanna Konta ‘grown as a player’ since losing to Karolina Pliskova

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta has made the second week for a third successive Grand Slam
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

British number one Johanna Konta says she has “grown as a player” since losing to Karolina Pliskova in May, as she prepares to face the Czech third seed in the US Open last 16 on Sunday.

The 27-year-old beat Konta in straight sets in the Italian Open final.

Konta, 28, has since reached the French Open semi-finals and made the last eight at Wimbledon, and has looked in good form so far at Flushing Meadows.

“I am looking forward to seeing how I can do a bit better,” Konta said.

The world number 16, who beat Chinese 33rd seed Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-3 in the last round, says she hopes to “ask some better questions this time around” against Pliskova.

They are second on Louis Armstrong Stadium with the match not expected to start before 17:30 BST.

“I like to think that I’ve grown as a player since Rome,” said Konta, who has dropped one set so far at this tournament.

“More than anything, it’s decision making and also probably in terms of when I play certain things or how I play certain things.

“I think just general awareness of being on court, just being aware of what my opponents are doing.”

She added: “I’m putting a lot of time and effort into being very open to the game when I’m out on court. I think that’s something that has been getting better for me.

“I feel like it’s enabled me to just play more relevant to the opponent that I have.”

Johanna Konta and Karolina Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova beat Johanna Konta in the Italian Open final in May

Pliskova’s 6-3 6-4 victory in Rome was her sixth win in seven matches against Konta and earned her a 14th WTA singles title, compared with the Briton’s three.

However, the 2016 US Open champion was taken to three sets by Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the last round before coming through 6-1 4-6 6-4.

“She [Konta] has had a great year, as she did in 2017, although she had a tough one last year,” Pliskova said in her BBC Sport column.

“She can be a little bit up and down but of course she is a dangerous player.

“Johanna has a lot of weapons – a good serve, good groundstrokes – and is playing with more variety here. So it will be very difficult.”

The winner will face Ukraine’s fifth seed Elina Svitolina or American 2017 runner-up Madison Keys in the quarter-finals.

Federer, Djokovic and Williams in action

Also on Sunday, five-time champion Roger Federer and world number one Novak Djokovic are in action in the men’s draw, while Serena Williams continues to chase a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in the women’s singles.

Swiss third seed Federer, 38, faces Belgian David Goffin after seeing off Britain’s Dan Evans in the third round and insisting he does not “call the shots” when it comes to scheduling.

That match will take place first on Arthur Ashe and will be followed by Williams against Croatia’s Petra Martic.

American eighth seed Williams, a six-time champion in New York, said she had “a lot of intensity” in her win over Czech Karolina Muchova in the third round.

Top seed Djokovic takes on Stan Wawrinka in a repeat of the 2016 final, when the Swiss beat Djokovic to claim the most recent of his three Grand Slams.

Meanwhile, Australia’s world number two Ashleigh Barty will play first on Louis Armstrong when she takes on Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang.