Santi Cazorla more talented than Steven Gerrard, reveals former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle Sinama-Pongolle never managed to measure up to the standards at Liverpool (Picture: Getty)‘In training or in games, when Santi got the ball magic happened.’Liverpool signed Sinama-Pongolle as a teenager amid much fanfare, but the Frenchman never managed to fulfil his potential at Anfield.Sinama-Pongolle would be sold in 2006, but was part of Liverpool’s now famous 2004/2005 Champions League squad.After coming off the bench to play a crucial role in Liverpool’s comeback against Olympiakos in their last group stage game, Sinama-Pongolle would miss out on a spot in the squad that took on AC Milan in the final.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CitySinama-Pongolle then explained how his return to Liverpool following their epic comeback in Istanbul was a huge let-down.‘It’s the only thing about my time at Liverpool that leaves a bad taste,’ he recalled. ‘The organisation after Istanbul was an absolute disgrace. ‘The day after, those of us who weren’t in the squad for the final were put on a separate flight so the wives and girlfriends could go back on the main plane with the team. Advertisement Coral BarryTuesday 5 May 2020 10:16 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link339Shares Advertisement Comment Cazorla and Gerrard faced each other in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)Florent Sinama-Pongolle branded Steven Gerrard the most ‘complete’ footballer he ever played with, but insists Santi Cazorla was more talented than the Liverpool legend.Cazorla, who is still playing at Villarreal, would become a household name at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger and remains a massively popular figure in football.Gerrard has gone down as one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players and Sinama-Pongolle played alongside ‘Captain Fantastic’ during some of his best years.‘Certainly the most complete player,’ Sinama-Pongolle told the Athletic about Gerrard. ADVERTISEMENT‘As a man, as a footballer, in terms of mentality, as a leader, yes he had everything. AdvertisementAdvertisement‘But in terms of just talent, in my opinion I played with more talented players. Sergio Aguero at Atletico (Madrid) was amazing. ‘Genius — every time he got the ball. I played with Santi Cazorla at Huelva and he was just “wow”. One of the best. Sinama-Pongolle was on the podium for Liverpool’s Istanbul triumph (Picture: Getty)‘Our flight arrived a bit later but the bus around the city didn’t wait for us. ‘They claimed that there were so many people on the streets of Liverpool that the police needed it to start. It was unfair. ‘They should have waited for the squad players. When I got back to Liverpool, I just went home and cried like crazy.‘The night before everything was great. It was so exciting. I should have been on that bus. I was really sad about how the club handled that.’Who is the more talented player?Cazorla0%Gerrard0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMORE: Patrice Evra reveals death threats from jailed Liverpool fans after Luis Suarez racist abuseMORE: John Barnes suggests Kylian Mbappe’s ‘attitude’ makes him the wrong fit for LiverpoolFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page.
NASCAR picks up at Darlington after 10-week hiatusUNDATED (AP) — It’s been 10 weeks since NASCAR last raced, and the stock car series has a full schedule ahead as it returns to competition Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.When the series stopped after the March 8 race at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick was the points leader and Joey Logano had two wins through four races. Ryan Newman is back after suffering a head injury in the season-opening Daytona 500. So is Matt Kenseth, who came out of retirement to replace fired driver Kyle Larson. The free agent market is less crowded because Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman both got new deals.Like almost everything during this pandemic, Sunday’s race will be very different from past races. A set of safety protocols will be strictly enforced. Teams are limited to 16 employees per car, including the driver, spotter and owner. Drivers must arrive at the track four hours ahead of the green flag and undergo a health and temperature check. Once inside, drivers will be isolated in their motorhomes, away from their team, and wait to be called to the cars. Everyone will be required to wear a face mask, crews must maintain social distancing and high-fives, hugs and human contact are barred. Darius Rucker will perform a virtual version of the national anthem, Fox Sports will call the race remotely from a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the victory lane celebration will be a muted affair void of high-fives and hugs. Update on the latest sports CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Alex Bowman has signed a one-year contract extension to remain with Hendrick Motorsports through 2021.The announcement Saturday came the day before NASCAR resumes its season at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Bowman goes into the event already qualified for the playoffs as winner at California on March 1, two weeks before the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.Bowman is fourth in the Cup standings and in his third full season driving the No. 88 for Hendrick. He filled in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2017 when Earnhardt was sidelined with a concussion, then took over the ride the next year when Earnhardt retired.Bowman, a 27-year-old from Arizona, has two career Cup wins and was a career-best 12th in last year’s standings.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS Giants cornerback sought by police turns himself inUNDATED (AP) — New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker has turned himself in to police in Broward County, Florida.Baker has been charged with four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. His lawyer, Bradford Cohen, says he has affidavits that will prove Baker’s innocence.Baker had been sought by police since Thursday, along with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Warrants were issued for both men after multiple witnesses accused them of an armed robbery at a party Wednesday night in Miramar, Florida.Dunbar had not surrendered to police as of Saturday afternoon. PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Ernie Gonzalez, who spent four years on the PGA Tour and won the Pensacola Open in 1986, has died. He was 59.The PGA Tour said he died Friday in a Chicago hospital of Alzheimer’s.Gonzalez played 119 events over a four-year span from 1985 through 1988, when he finished 207th on the money list. The Californian’s lone victory was in 1986 when he made five birdies and an eagle over his final nine holes of the second round for a 63 and a one-shot lead. But the 36-hole final because of rain was wiped out, and Gonzales was the winner.His largest payoff was $48,000 for a tie for third in the Vantage Championship, two weeks after his victory in Pensacola. That tournament was cut to 54 holes because of bad weather.Gonzalez played at least one PGA Tour event every year through 2003. He also worked at a beverage distributorship in Las Vegas. His lone PGA Tour Champions event after turning 50 was the Senior British Open in 2011. He missed the cut. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-FINANCESAP Exclusive: MLB projects $640K per game loss with no fansNEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has told players their prorated salaries would contribute to an average loss of $640,000 for each game over an 82-game season in empty ballparks, according to a presentation from the commissioner’s office to the union that was obtained by The Associated Press. Associated Press COLLEGE FOOTBALL-OBIT-HOFFPAUIREx-Stanford two-sport star Zach Hoffpauir dies at 26UNDATED (AP) — Zach Hoffpauir, a two-sport standout at Stanford who was recently hired to coach safeties on the University of Northern Colorado football team, has died at age 26. The university says he died in his sleep Thursday.Hoffpauir earned All-Pac 12 honors as a safety in football and played two seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system after starring as an outfielder on the Cardinal baseball team. He was close friends with Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. It was Christian’s father Ed McCaffrey who hired Hoffpauir in February at Northern Colorado.GOLF-SOUTH KOREA-WOMEN Painting a picture of a $10 billion industry shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, the 12-page document titled “Economics of Playing Without Fans in Attendance” and dated May 12 was an initial step in negotiations aimed at starting the delayed season around the Fourth of July.Teams say the proposed method of salvaging a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic would still cause a $4 billion loss and would give major league players 89% of revenue. The Yankees would have the highest loss at $312 million.Teams contend they lose more money with each additional game played. The players’ union, however, believes clubs would lose less money with more games. In addition, many teams and/or their owners have stakes in their regional sports network that would benefit from additional games.Owners voted Monday to propose salaries be based on a 50-50 split of revenue, a framework players say is tantamount to the kind of salary cap they will never accept. Teams gave the players’ association their virus-testing plan Friday and have waited to make their economic proposal.NFL-NEWS — NFL teams have been given the league’s OK to begin reopening their facilities on Tuesday if state and local governments will allow it. In a memo to the 32 teams obtained by The Associated Press, Commissioner Roger Goodell stressed that the clubs must follow protocols developed by the league medical officer and comply with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction.” Facilities have been closed since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.— Horse racing is in a state of transition at a time usually reserved for Triple Crown season. The Preakness would have been run Saturday in Baltimore, but Pimlico Race Course and many tracks across North America remain dark because of the coronavirus pandemic. There is some light at the end of the tunnel as tracks including Churchill Downs in Kentucky and Santa Anita Park in California are getting back to live racing without fans. That trend could be a lifeline for owners and trainers with smaller barns who have been suffering without steady income.— The head of the World Health Organization said Saturday it will not be easy to make next year’s Tokyo Olympics a safe global gathering after the pandemic. Speaking at a joint news conference with the IOC, the WHO’s director general called for “national unity and global solidarity” to fight the coronavirus outbreak ahead of the Olympics. The Summer Games, postponed this year, should bring athletes from more than 200 countries to Japan. The opening ceremony is now due on July 23, 2021.PGA-OBIT-GONZALEZErnie Gonzalez, winner of 1986 Pensacola Open, dies at 59 In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:— Live golf returns to television Sunday with a charity Skins game at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, to benefit coronavirus relief. There won’t be any caddies, so the four players — Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff — will be carrying their own bags. The only rake will be carried by a rules official. Another rules official will be the only person to handle the flagstick, if necessary. Mike Tirico will host the NBC telecast beginning at 2 p.m. EDT from his home office in Michigan. It will be the first live action on TV since the opening round of The Players Championship on March 12.— New York will allow horse racing tracks and Watkins Glen International car track to reopen with the easing of the coronavirus outbreak. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday was quick to add a caveat: “No crowds. No fans.” At his daily briefing, the Democrat says he could envision a return of Major League Baseball in New York, also without fans, adding: “If it works economically, that would be great.”— Germany’s Bundesliga (BOON’-dehsh-lee-guh) soccer season resumed Saturday after a two-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Borussia Dortmund defeated Schalke 4-0 in the first Ruhr derby to be played in an empty stadium. Also, Hertha Berlin won 3-0 at Hoffenheim, Freiburg drew at Leipzig 1-1, Paderborn drew at Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-0, and Wolfsburg won 2-1 at Augsburg. They were the first games to be played in the league since March 11. Earlier Saturday the second division resumed with four games, also without fans present and amid strict distancing measures.— Reigning Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece outpaced two other pole vaulters to win the second edition of the Ultimate Garden Clash staged at their own training facilities. On a hot day in Athens, Stefanidi cleared a height of 4 meters (13 feet, 1 ½ inches) a total of 34 times over 30 minutes in a rare track and field competition held during the coronavirus pandemic. Two-time U.S. indoor winner Katie Nageotte cleared the bar 30 times and Commonwealth Games champion Alysha Newman of Canada had 21 clearances in their showdown. Combined, they had 85 successful jumps. Their male counterparts had 98 in their backyard competition May 3. May 16, 2020 In other NFL news:— A Washington Redskins player is facing five charges, including felony illegal discharge of a firearm, following his arrest in a Denver suburb Saturday morning. The Douglas County sheriff’s office says deputies arrested 27-year-old Cody Latimer after responding to a report of shots fired inside an apartment in Englewood, Colorado. Deputies say they found three individuals in the apartment, one with minor injuries unrelated to a gunshot. Latimer was taken into custody and is also facing charges of second-degree assault, menacing, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Latimer posted a $25,000 bond and was released. Latimer, a wide receiver, joined the Redskins in March after two years with the New York Giants and four years before that with the Denver Broncos.— The Los Angeles Rams have re-signed defensive end Morgan Fox and released defensive tackle Tanzel Smart on Saturday. The team didn’t disclose the terms of its new deal with Fox, who has been a depth contributor on the Rams’ defensive line since 2016. He signed with Los Angeles as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State-Pueblo. Fox tore a ligament in his knee in May 2018 and missed the entire ensuing season, including the Rams’ playoff run to the Super Bowl. He returned last season with two sacks and 18 tackles while starting three of the Rams’ 16 games. Smart was the Rams’ sixth-round pick out of Tulane in 2017. He had seven tackles while playing in 13 games last season.NASCAR-BOWMAN EXTENSIONAlex Bowman signs 1-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports Lim Hee-jeong leads women’s golf in South Korea by 3 shotsSEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Lim Hee-jeong shot an 8-under 64 on Saturday for a three-stroke lead after three rounds of the KLPGA Championship.She was followed by Park Hyun-kyung (67) and overnight leader Bae Seon-woo (72). Lim was at 15-under 201 overall at Lakewood Country Club.The women’s tournament joins baseball and soccer as sports running again in South Korea.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6