Rossi blames Spanish ‘stitch up’ for title defeat

Valentino Rossi claimed he was the victim of a Spanish conspiracy on Sunday after his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo secured his third MotoGP world championship in Valencia.

The Spaniard began seven points behind Rossi who had to start at the back of the grid as a penalty for clashing with Spain’s Marc Marquez in the previous race.

With Lorenzo enjoying the luxury of starting in pole position Rossi’s hopes of winning an eighth title looked slim, but the Italian fought back to fourth at the halfway stage.

His hopes rested on Honda’s Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa passing their fellow Spaniard, but in the end they finished second and third leaving Rossi angrily accusing them of helping their compatriot by not racing to win.

“I did what I could but it was a strange situation having Márquez as the bodyguard of Lorenzo. It is embarrassing for the sport,” said Rossi. “Hopefully the sport’s authorities will be able to sort it out. It is an ugly end to what has been an attractive championship. It has not been a true championship and this should not happen in sport.”

Rossi said Lorenzo deserved the title but could not understand why Honda would want to see a Yamaha rider win. Márquez said it was ‘a lack of respect’ to suggest he had not tried to win.

“I always give everything and I know there will be people that will say that I have been second because I wanted Lorenzo to win,” he said.

Lorenzo, who ended the season five points clear of Rossi, suggested it was to be expected that his compatriots would rather see him win.

He commented: “The fact they knew what I was going for and that they are Spanish has helped me and in another race they may have tried everything to overtake.

“Dani did well because he could have tried a crazy overtake. We are Spanish and the title remains in Spain. If it had been in Italy and with two Italians behind Rossi, then it would have been the same.”

The race had been shrouded in controversy since Malaysia, where Rossi allegedly kicked Márquez off his bike.

Rossi accused his rival of trying to sabotage his title hopes, but a bid to persuade the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the penalty failed, although the appeal against the punishment is still in process.

The Prime Ministers and media of both countries waded into the row, while Márquez and his family filed legal papers after allegedly being assaulted by Italian journalists.

The race itself was much calmer with Lorenzo leading throughout, while Rossi climbed as far as he could and then waited to see what happened with the top three too far ahead to catch. The Italian finished 19.7 seconds adrift of Lorenzo, with just 0.2 seconds between the new champion and Márquez.

England rugby in new embarrassment as shares fiasco revealed

The England national rugby team has been embroiled in a bizarre and embarrassing scandal, with news that a host of players lost money on shares recommended by the team’s kitman.

The Rugby World Cup hosts under-performed at the recent competition, losing to Wales and Australia, subsequently exiting the tournament in the group stages.

The latest controversy has plunged the RFU and the national game in England to new lows, with it being revealed that kitman Dave Tennison recommended shares in oil drilling company LGO Energy to the players.

The Guardian claims that a host of players, including Rugby League convert Sam Burgess, invested tens of thousands of pounds on his recommendation – but saw the share price plummet.

Instead of Tennison’s tip that the company’s share price would skyrocket, it has dropped from £3.27 to 50p.

Although the actions are by no means illegal, the scandal is certainly less then ideal preparation for such a major competition on home soil and can be listed as another reason for England’s poor performance at the tournament.

An insider was quoted as saying that Burgess in particular was incensed by the loss of money.

“Sam Burgess invested the most and was furious when the price went down so much.”

“No one is saying the share tips were the reason we did so badly in the tournament – but it certainly didn’t help.”

The shares were listed at £1.20 just days before the competition starting, but Tennison is believed to have sent e-mails to the investing players to calm their concerns.

“I would not discourage anybody from buying LGO shares at this ridiculous low price,” read one email.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this will prove to be a fantastic investment.”

The scandal is made worse by the fact that head coach Stuart Lancaster is said to have been unaware of the investment and subsequent disquiet in the squad.

A review of the side’s performance at the World Cup has started with a report to be presented to the management board on November 17. This incident will be investigated separately, and is bound to cause further criticism of the England rugby setup.

José Mourinho handed one-match stadium ban after expletive-laden rant

A stadium ban has been handed to Chelsea manager José Mourinho after he ranted at a referee during Chelsea’s 2-1 loss to West Ham on 24th October. He will not be allowed to set foot in the stadium for the game against Stoke on Saturday.

He has grudgingly accepted that the ban, which bans him even from from sitting in the stands. This is a game that Chelsea need to win to regain their composure after only six wins in eleven games.

Mourinho chose not to appeal the decision that the three-man disciplinary hearing made, which said he had shown “persistent and/or aggressive nature of the reported behaviour” towards referee Jonathan Moss at a game away against West Ham United. The incident started when the Chelsea boss refused to leave Moss’s dressing room, after which he reportedly shouted “You fucking referees are weak”. After this, he was escorted out of the dressing room by West Ham security manager Simon Sutton.

This is Mourinho’s fifth charge of misconduct since he returned to Chelsea in mid 2013. He has racked up charges of £141,000 since then, plus an appeal which was rejected. For this incident, he was fined £40,000.
Mourinho was invited into Moss’s dressing room at half-time with Sutton to discuss incidents in the first half of the match. Chelsea were losing 1-0, and had been reduced to 10 men after midfielder Nemanja Matić was sent off a few minutes before the whistle blew. After Mourinho had ranted to Moss about the sending off, a disallowed goal and a goal denied by touchline technology, he told Moss that referees were “[expletive] weak”. After he had been escorted out by Sutton, he was sent off and had to sit in the stands.

He told reporters that the ban will “change everything” about how he interacts with games. ““I’ve been banned from the bench before but this is a stadium ban, stopping me working,” he said in a press conference on Friday. He will still be allowed to communicate with club staff by telephone, but will be resigned to watching the game through other means.

The Stoke-Chelsea game takes place at the Britannia Stadium at 5:30pm on 7th November. Chelsea lie in 15th place in the Premier League, while Stoke are one place above them in 14th.

Pictures Appear To Show Greg Hardy’s Ex-Girlfriend’s Injuries

Dallas Cowboys player Greg Hardy inflicted injuries on his then-girlfriend Nicole Holder in May 2014. Deadspin have published pictures which appear to show Holder’s injuries, including bruises to her neck, chin, torso and back.

Hardy appeared in a trial in July 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, although he appealed and the charges were dropped when Holder failed to show up in court at the jury trial.

Some backstory: in May 2014, Hardy reportedly injured Holder by first throwing her onto a bed, and then into a bathtub. He then flung her onto a futon covered in firearms, which Hardy told police were loaded. He then threw some jewelery that he had given her into a toilet, and when she attempted to get it out, slammed the lid on her arm. After this, he dragged by her hair from room to room, then put his arms around her neck and told her he was going to kill her.

Despite this, Holder and Hardy settled out of court, which meant Hardy remained free to play football and didn’t get any jail time. He signed for the Cowboys in March this year, where he’s gone on to be an even bigger sporting star than he was before. The Cowboys apparently did not have access to the pictures when they signed Hardy, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, despite knowing about the domestic violence case and the violence Hardy inflicted on Holder.

A month after the Cowboys had signed Hardy, he was banned by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for 10 games, telling the defensive end that an investigation by the NFL had, “determined that there was sufficient credible evidence that Hardy engaged in conduct that violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances.” This was later reduced to 4 games after an appeal.

As Hardy was attacking her, Holder thought she was going to kill him; she told Detective Faye Strother that “He was gonna kill me, this is it…this is the time. He’s actually gonna do it.” According to the transcript of the interview Deadspin published, this was when Holder was being strangled by Hardy; in Deadspin’s pictures you can see the marks where Hardy’s hands were around her neck.

Hardy claimed at the trial that Holder’s injuries were self-inflicted; she also claimed this, saying that nothing had happened and when asked where the scratches on her arm had appeared from, saying she did them herself. At first she refused to talk to police, but later opened up and gave her account of the story.

Hardy, meanwhile, is still playing football. On November 5, the charges were expunged from his record, meaning that they officially don’t exist. When you look at the injuries Holder received, this feels like little justice, especially when it’s not known how the case was resolved out of court between the two.

The Dallas Cowboys’ next game is on Monday November 9, a game at which Hardy is likely to play a part in.

Premier League: 5 talking points from the weekend’s action

Halloween weekend in the Premier League brought horror and misery for Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side, for Manchester United’s strikers, and for Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. But only one survived their ordeal and enjoyed three precious points after the dust settled.

The Champions lose again

Chelsea fans watched in dismay on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool dismantled their side at Stamford Bridge. The 3-1 defeat, Chelsea’s sixth already this season, leaves the Blues languishing in 15th place, with Mourinho continuing up a certain creek without a certain proverbial.

There were many who were surprised to see Mourinho still in the job come the morning, with his post-match interviews revealing a man in the throes of a crisis. How much longer can he last?

United’s profligacies continue

Louis Van Gaal finds himself with an altogether different problem. A 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace made it three successive goalless draws in all competitions for the Red Devils, with their drought in front of goal extending past the five hour mark.

Anthony Martial, who arrived as a firecracker at Old Trafford in the summer, has gone quiet, while Wayne Rooney’s struggles have been well documented. Despite being fourth in the Premier League, there are clearly problems at the still very much sleeping giants.

Joe Hart in the spotlight

United’s fierce rivals, Manchester City, scraped a 2-1 win at home against newly promoted Norwich City. Yaya Toure saved goalkeeper Joe Hart’s blushes with a late penalty after the England man had inexplicably dropped a cross for Cameron Jerome to bring his side level at the Etihad.

Hart’s continued position as England’s number one is now being questioned in light of Stoke City’s Jack Butland’s continued good form.

The 22 year old kept his third clean sheet from the last four games against Newcastle on Saturday, and will be hoping his displays will have caught the eye of England boss Roy Hodgson with Euro 2016 inching ever closer.

Arsenal showing real grit

Arsene Wenger’s side notched up their fifth win on the spin at Swansea on Saturday, keeping the club second in the league on goal difference. With chances galore in the first half, it was Swansea who looked the likeliest winners.

But the Gunners weathered the storm and hit three to bag the points, with the resurgent Mesut Ozil particularly impressive. Could this be Arsenal’s year at long last?

Everton hit Sunderland for six

A rollercoaster encounter rounded off the Sunday fixtures, with Everton emerging 6-2 winners against struggling Sunderland at Goodison Park, with striker Arouna Kone scoring a hat-trick.

The Ivorian, so plagued with injuries during his two year stay at the club, also triggered a contract extension with that showing, as Everton climbed to ninth in the league, one point behind neighbours Liverpool.

Federer beats Nadal in Swiss Indoors Final

Roger Federer fought off stern resistance from Rafael Nadal to claim the Swiss Indoors title at Basel’s St Jakobshalle Arena on Sunday. Their first match for almost two years was eagerly anticipated and didn’t disappoint.

Federer rolled back years to win his seventh Swiss Indoors title after a stunning display of attacking tennis against old rival Nadal.

The top seed ended a five-match losing streak against Nadal to win 6-3 5-7 6-3, in their first meeting at his home ATP event in Basel.

The fast hard court surface suited Federer’s aggressive game, but he was pushed all the way by the defiant Spaniard. Nadal was broken in the fifth game of the opening set after some superb baseline play from Federer, and when he dropped serve again to lose the set the writing looked to be on the wall.

Federer looked poised to run away with the match early in the second, but Nadal refused to go down quietly, saving a break point while serving down 2-3.

He continued his stubborn battle against his opponent’s brilliance and at 5-5 his patience was rewarded, a punishing forehand leaving Federer floundering helplessly on break point. Nadal forced a decider with a hold to love.

The relentless pace continued in the third, with both players looking to open the court and keep rallies short. A Nadal double fault in the third game gave Federer a break chance, but the Spaniard dug deep to hold.

The Swiss ace finally broke Nadal’s resistance, grabbing the decisive break for 5-3 and serving out for the game after two hours and three minutes on court.

It was Federer’s 11th win over Nadal in 34 meetings, a victory that ended a run of five successive defeats, and he was understandably delighted.

“It was one of my best weeks in Basel, considering everything I’ve done throughout my career here,” said Federer. “I thought the match was close. I had my chances in the second, but he fought back well, like he’s done throughout the week really. Overall I was really happy how I played and it was a very special day. ”

Nadal, who has also reached the final of the China Open and the last four of the Shanghai Masters in recent weeks, was happy with his performance.

“My goal is to get back to my level and be competitive against the top players again,” he said. “The match wasn’t far away from me. He played well and I played well too. I want to congratulate him for the victory and I had a lot of quality things in my game and mental side to take away from the week.”

World Series 2015: Games 1 and 2 summaries, Game 3 prediction

We take a look at the first two games in this year’s World Series, then have a look at predictions for game 3 and beyond. Will Escobar continue to do what he does best? How will Noah Syndergaard fare in game 3?

The Tuesday night game of this year’s World Series was the longest opening match in World Series history.

The Royals won 5-4 after 14 innings, with five hours played in Kansas City, finishing at 12:18am when Alcides Escobar ran home after Hosmer hit a sac-fly right and Curtis Granderson threw home. The game was a mix of thrilling play and antagonizing waiting.

The first pitch of the game resulted in an inside-the-park home run from Escobar, the first in a World Series since 1929 and the first leadoff one for more than a hundred years – 112 years to be exact.

The Mets led the game at the start of the sixth inning, 3-1, until the Royals did the unexpected and managed to tie the game. The eighth and ninth innings saw one-a-piece scored, which tied the game 4-4 until Escobar managed to run home in the 14th inning.

In Game 2, also held in Kansas City, the Royals dominated, winning 1-7 while Johnny Cuteo threw a complete game for the Royals. The first three innings were devoid of any runs, but finally in the fourth inning, Lucas Duda scored with an RBI two-out single, putting the Mets 1-0. Jacob deGrom’s grounding out of Salvador Perez ended the inning.

The fifth inning was where the Royals really got their game on, taking the lead 4-1. Esobar tied the game with an RBI, while Eric Hosmer had a two-run RBI, putting the game up to 3-1. Mike Moustakas then put the game up to 4-1 with another RBI. The sixth inning, meanwhile, saw Cuteo achieve his second 1-2-3 inning of the game, doing the same in the seventh inning as well. He’d got 13 consecutively hitters out, not allowing a baserunner since the 4th inning.

The eighth inning saw Escobar get an RBI triple, knocking the score up to 7-1. At this point, the Mets fans started to leave, knowing they’d lost the game and were going 0-2 against the Royals in the first two games of the Series. The ninth and final inning had Cueto pitching once again instead of the usual Royals closer Wade Davis. The game ended Royals 7, Mets 1, taking the Royals 2-0 up in the Series.

So what can we expect for the third game of the Series? Well, firstly it’s in New York, so the Mets will have that advantage up their sleeves. They also have one of the best rotations in Major League Baseball, seemingly managing to put a top-of-the-line pitcher out every night.

Rookie Noah Syndergaard will start the game this time; he has a great fastball at more than 100mph and a good season record. However, fastballs of this type don’t seem to faze the Royals. All the same, Syndergaard gives reason for Mets fans to be excited about this.

The Royals have great depth in their hitters, who can hit a ball anywhere at any speed and generally get good things out of it. Must pundits seem to believe the Royals will take Game 3 in New York, but if the Mets can make home advantage count, we might be in for a much closer Series.

Golden Oldies: 10 Sports Stars Who Improved After 30

Chronicling some of the best sportsman who achieved greatness past their 30th birthdays. Including boxers, soccer players, and golfers; these guys have proven that age really is just a number.

Hunched over and clutching the corner flag for support, ex-Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o’s impression of an elderly sportsman last year had soccer fans the world over chuckling. The Cameroonian had had his age questioned earlier that week, which had led to doubts over his continued ability at the top level. His goal against Tottenham that day proved otherwise.

Indeed, there have been hugely successful sportsman who achieved superstardom after they had entered their 30’s. Footballers, boxers, cricketers, golfers and cyclists; everyone loves a golden oldie, and those on this list certainly prove that it’s never too late for greatness:

1. Bradley Wiggins, Cycling

The now Sir Bradley’s career hit the heights in 2012 after he won the Tour de France at the age of 32, and was also entered into the Guinness Book of Records for becoming the first cyclist to win both the Tour and Olympic gold in the same year. Having started his career on the track, Wiggins proved to be one of the most accomplished riders on road.

2. Mark Ramprakash, Cricket

Having moved to Surrey in 2001 at the age of 32, Englishman Ramprakash’s cricketing improved markedly. He had for a time been considered a nearly man, capable of brilliance as a right-handed batsman, but all the while struggling for real consistency. But in both 2006 and 2007, he averaged over 100 runs per innings, winning PCA Player of the Year in the process. Known for his fiery temperament, Ramprakash is one of only 25 players to score 100 first class centuries in a career.

3. George Foreman, Boxing

While a World Heavyweight Champion in his early twenties, ‘Big George’ made the record books over twenty years after his first title in 1972, coming out of retirement in 1994 to regain the Heavyweight Championship at the ripe old age of 45. Finally hanging up his gloves (for good) in 1997, Foreman is remembered as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time – as well as championing his eponymously named grill!

4. Gianfranco Zola, Soccer

Arriving at Chelsea in the English Premier League in 1997, aged 30, many presumed the little Italian wouldn’t last too long in arguably the most cutthroat league in the world. To their surprise, Zola lasted seven years, winning four major honours with the Blues. Named Chelsea Player of the Year twice, and the FWA Player of the Year in 1997 (having not even played a full season at Stamford Bridge), Zola is considered to be one of the best ever imports into the English League.

5. Evander Holyfield, Boxing

The famous ‘Bite Fight’ of 1997 remains one of boxing’s all-time clashes, with the 34 year-old Holyfield winning his World Championship rematch after Mike Tyson was disqualified for taking a chunk out of his opponent’s ear. The previous bout the year before was also won by Holyfield, and was named both the fight and the upset of the year. By winning the fight, Holyfield became the first heavyweight boxer since Muhammad Ali to win the world title three times. Not bad for a fighter who had retired the year before due to a supposed heart condition!

6. David Steele, Cricket

A little known English cricketer who made his international debut in 1975, at the age of 33. Named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year that same year, as well as BBC Personality of the Year; the prematurely grey Steele bagged over 22,000 runs in his career. He got lost on the way out to the field on that debut day in ‘75, finding himself in the basement toilets after taking too many steps down! Someone should have helped the old timer out!

7. Roger Milla, Soccer

The 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy introduced the world to the 38-year-old Roger Milla. Coming out of retirement to compete in his second World Cup, the aging Cameroonian smashed in four goals during the tournament, with his celebration for each a dance around the corner flag, which remains one of the most recognisable images in the history of the game. Four years later, aged 42, Milla became the oldest ever World Cup goalscorer after netting against Russia in Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto.

8. Edwin Van Der Sar, Soccer

The Dutch goalkeeper is widely regarded to be behind only Peter Schmeichel as the best ever Manchester United goalkeeper, but his tenure between the sticks at Old Trafford only started when he was 35. Winning the Premier League four years on the spin from 2006 to 2011, and a Champions League trophy in 2008; Van Der Sar was a real force to be reckoned with, and was in his forties when he retired. He also holds the English record for the longest time without conceding a goal, with 1,311 minutes.

9. Mark O’Meara, Golf

It took the American forty-one years to win his first major golfing championship, and they both came in 1998. His first, The Masters, came at his 15th attempt in the competition, still a record today. O’Meara had plenty of luck on PGA Tours, winning 16, and enjoyed an unusually broad career all around the world.

10. Phil Taylor, Darts

Opinion will forever be divided as to the legitimacy of darts as a sport, but Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, arguably the best player of all time, is still going aged 60. Winning his first world title aged 30 in 1995, he sneaks on the end of this list due to sheer longevity. And he’s pocketed over £6m in prize money over his career. That’s one golden oldie.

Klopp v Mourinho: Why Liverpool can beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have endured their worst start in recent memory and no club has ever qualified for the Champions League after this bad a start. On the other hand, Liverpool’s new manager, their own bad start aside, has the right tactics to play and beat a team like Chelsea. Here’s why.

Struggling champions Chelsea, fronted by beleaguered manager Jose Mourinho and currently languishing in 15th place in the English Premier League, will take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, fresh from their first win under their new German boss during the week.

They say it’s better to be extraordinary than ordinary in life, but this Saturday afternoon at Stamford Bridge, being a normal one would seem to be preferable to being a special one.

Klopp, the former Borussia Dortmund manager, made a point of underlying his normality in the climate of celebrity managers, and he faces arguably the most show-stopping manager of his generation. But, if you believe the rumours, the Mourinho’s show could soon be drawing to a close, and Klopp could be the one to bring the curtain down. And not for the first time.

Five defeats so far in the English top flight, with their defence of the Carling Cup ending in miserable fashion during the week at the hands of Stoke; Chelsea are reeling and without direction. What was very recently an iron battleship of relentless determination is now a creaking rowboat, and the water is rising.

With striker Diego Costa a doubt for the game with a rib injury, Eden Hazard continuing to jog on the peripheries, and a defence scared of its own shadow; Chelsea are arguably there for the taking.

Klopp, having taken the reins at Anfield following Brendan Rodgers’ departure, is unbeaten in his first three games as Liverpool manager. Beating Bournemouth 1-0 in the Carling Cup midweek was the perfect warmup to Saturday’s showdown, with the Reds showing newfound grit and endeavour.

The industry of their central midfield against the struggling Nemanja Matic and potentially Ramires will be key, while the individual performances of Christian Benteke and Phillippe Coutinho have to be high throughout the 90. Klopp is a confidence builder, and he’ll have his players riding the crest of a wave heading down to West London.

And while Liverpool haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last six encounters, in Klopp, they have a manager who knows how to topple Jose Mourinho.

History is very much on the side of the German rather than the Portuguese. As Dortmund and Real Madrid managers respectively, Klopp has faced Mourinho on four occasions, with two wins, one draw and a loss under his belt. Indeed that solitary loss, a 2-0 Champions League semi-final second leg tie in 2013, still proved to be enough to take his Dortmund side through to the final, having convincingly won the first leg 4-1.

Jose Mourinho didn’t last too much longer in Madrid, having failed to deliver La Decima in his third season in the Spanish capital.

Dortmund tackled the fearsome attacking threat of Madrid by matching the Spaniards’ style. Mourinho prefers a counter attacking game, allowing opposition errors to hand the initiative to his sides. Dortmund had the defensive structure and presence of mind up top, serving up a horror evening for Real at the Westfalenstadion, with four-goal Robert Lewandowski the chief tormenter.

Two years on at Stamford Bridge and things are eerily similar. Klopp is once again the underdog facing a Mourinho under mounting pressure to deliver. There is little to be lost for Liverpool, and everything to gain. Freedom will be the optimum word for Klopp going into the game. Go out and impress.

Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, will struggle to downplay the importance for his side not to lose. But would a draw be enough for a stay of the axe?

The Death of the One-club Footballer

Where have all the one-club footballers gone? Just a few years ago we were celebrating the careers of Giggs, Puyol and Maldini, but many modern one-club footballers have jumped ship for a last payday. Will we see another one-club footballer ever again?

Given the widespread following of modern-day football, there is little debating the fact that the sport has become the global game – with the money on offer as a result nothing short of staggering.

While the best players on the planet naturally flock to Europe for fame and fortune, the growth of football across other continents continues to gather pace, collect followers and receive more and more financial backing.

Major League Soccer, the Australian A-League and the Qatar Stars League are just a few examples of footballing divisions that are able to attract an ever-increasing higher calibre of player as the sport grows in their respective nations.

While the increase in popularity in these leagues can only be a good thing for the health of football globally, it also threatens to spell the end of a prestigious club, with inductees having a very special bond.

One-club men, or players that only represent one football team throughout the entirety of their career, have a certain mystique; an unbreakable allegiance to the cause that turns them from fans’ favourites to club icons due to their loyalty.

Over the years there have been plenty, some more distinguished than others, but all held in the absolute highest regard by the fans that have the unique pleasure of being the only supporter group to sign that player’s name.

One-Club Footballers: Giants of Football

Some of the more noteworthy include Paulo Maldini, Ryan Giggs and Carles Puyol, who have all retired from the sport now – but they hung up their boots in the same place that it all started.

Maldini, and Franco Baresi for that matter, only wore the black and red of AC Milan and achieved widespread success and iconic status with the Rossoneri as a result.

Giggs was part of a glorious generation of Manchester United youth graduates, the class of 92, that defined Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford and propelled the club to English and European football’s elite over many years.

While other members of the same fabled school such as David Beckham sought challenges elsewhere, Giggs and fellow one-club men Gary Neville and Paul Scholes are held in much higher regard in the Stretford End due to their unwavering dedication to the Red Devils’ cause.

Barcelona is quickly becoming another hub of potential one-club men, with Blaugrana stalwart, talisman, captain and leader Puyol retiring having only played for the Catalan side.

Of the current Camp Nou contingent, the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and a host of other La Masia graduates could well follow suit – but the chances are being reduced as the wealth behind football in second-tier competitions grows.

Thinking about the afore-mentioned three growing leagues, the allure of a challenge in foreign climes and the inevitable lucrative last pay day that comes with it have robbed football of a host of potentially legendary one-club men.

The lure of MLS

The MLS was Steven Gerrard’s preferred destination after ending a career-long affinity with boyhood club Liverpool, with the former England captain now wearing the white and yellow of LA Galaxy.

For many members of the Kop, not having the blood-and-thunder midfielder in the heart of the team this season has still not truly sunk in.

Although Liverpool fans will always love Gerrard for his decision to shirk interest from other major clubs whilst he was in his prime, there is a feeling that had he ended his career as a Red, like Jamie Carragher did, forsaking all others, it would have been more fitting.

Australia and Qatar – attracting European stars

The A-League’s biggest-ever transfer coup saw Italian wizard Alessandro Del Piero step out for Sydney FC after 17 years as a Juventus hero came to an end.

The sublimely gifted attacker captured the imagination of Australian audiences with his ability and helped to build the increasing popularity of the sport Down Under – he also became the country’s highest-ever paid sportsman in the process.

Finally, Xavi opted not to follow Puyol’s lead and end on a high, instead being lured to Qatar for a final pay day before retirement.

A crowd of less than 2,500 was in attendance to witness his Al-Sadd debut earlier this year and although the Spaniard’s bank balance will be thriving, his sense of self-worth given the stellar achievements from days past will not exactly be soaring.

Others such as ageing Roma pair Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti will have the choice to make in upcoming years – but it is hard to criticise the players in truth.

With only a season or two left in the tank before the inevitability of retirement, why not bolster the coffers before a new life away from the pitch begins?

The reduction in importance at their beloved clubs as the frailties of age set in must surely be another heart-wrenching factor, with the chance to be a superstar all over again, albeit at a significantly lower standard of play, having its appeal.

Although the players that opt for the riches of a final payday in the sun should not be given too much of a hard time, the romanticism of the one-club men is slowly being weaned away as a result, with this prestigious and venerable group potentially struggling for new noteworthy members.