Chelsea breathe sigh of relief as Eden Hazard rules out January move to Real Madrid

Hazard has been in sparkling form all year and is a strong contender to win the Ballon d'Or. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Chelsea breathe sigh of relief as Eden Hazard rules out January move to Real Madrid

LONDON: Eden Hazard pledged his immediate future to Chelsea ruling out a move to Real Madrid in the January transfer window.
Earlier this week the Belgian playmaker said it remained his dream to play for the Spanish giants. That came after a summer where speculation was rife that the 27-year-old would move to the Bernabeu.
But that, for now at least, has been put on the back burner.
It was put to Hazard that to win the Ballon d’Or — as the world’s best player — he would have to play in Spain.
“That’s why I want to go, maybe,” Hazard said.
Asked if that move might happen in January, he replied: “No.”
Hazard has been instrumental in Chelsea’s unbeaten start under Maurizio Sarri, scoring eight goals in all competitions.
The Belgian was selected the second best player at the World Cup and, after leading his country to third place in Russia, said it “might be time” for a fresh challenge, with Madrid his preferred destination.
Speaking after Chelsea’s 3-0 victory at Southampton on Sunday, he said: “Real Madrid are the best club in the world. I don’t want to lie today. It is my dream since I was a kid. I was dreaming about this club.
“We will see. I don’t want to talk about this every day. I don’t have time but we will talk about my future soon.”
Hazard, whose Chelsea contract runs until June 2020, was asked yesterday whether he is the world’s best player on form and he answered with an unequivocal “yes.” AN


Philippines clinches top two spots in Saudi Arabian women’s bowling competition

Updated 20 May 2019
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Philippines clinches top two spots in Saudi Arabian women’s bowling competition

  • Competitors from Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Philippines, the US, India and Saudi Arabia joined the tournament

ALKHOBAR: The Philippines claimed the top two spots in a bowling championship in Saudi Arabia.

Kryztine Cruz and Irene Pua emerged as champion and runner-up at the Women’s Bowling Championship, which was organized by the Saudi Bowling Federation and held on Saturday at the Al-Gosaibi Bowling Center in Alkhobar. Saudi Arabia’s Nahla Adas finished third.

Competitors from Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Philippines, the US, India and the Kingdom entered the tournament. The field was cut by half to 26 after the preliminary round. The top 13 in the first round advanced to the semifinals where the top three qualified for the stepladder finals.

In the first match of the stepladder, Cruz beat Adas 212-158 to earn a shot at No. 1 qualifier Pua. The Eastern Province-based and second-seeded Cruz brought down Pua 243-189 in the title match.

Adas has participated in local championships in addition to competing in the Arab Championship held in Egypt earlier this year. She said she had found “true pleasure” in bowling and that the competition was very vigorous at Al-Gosaibi. 

“I am proud of the presence of Gulf women and the increased awareness and acceptance of winning and losing in the spirit of the game,” said Adas.

“The atmosphere was different and, for the first time, we hosted a bowling championship in our homeland with this number of skilful players of several nationalities. The presence of the first Saudi bowling team by my side in every shot has played a big role in crucial rounds. I’m also grateful for Kuwaiti and Bahraini support until the very end. Jeddah players were also present for the first time ... which means that the competition will become more vigorous in upcoming tournaments with the presence of three Saudi women’s teams.”

The Arab Bowling Championship was won by the hosts Egypt, with Oman claiming silver and Bahrain the bronze. The Saudi women’s team of four finished in seventh place in the team event, but were hopeful that the experience could prove to be a springboard to future success and greater participation of Saudi women in the sport.

Razan Baker, a member of the board of directors at the Saudi Bowling Federation, said after the event that she was “honored” to supervise the team during its first tournament outside the Kingdom.