Real Madrid and Manchester City could be set for a huge summer transfer fight

first_img1 Real Madrid have joined Manchester City in the race for Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci.The centre-back has once again been in stunning form for the Italian champions this season and he has played a key role in their run to the Champions League final.The 30-year-old was the subject of strong interest from Manchester City last summer and there were even reports they had a £38m bid rejected.Pep Guardiola is expected to go back for Bonucci this summer but now, according to Diario Gol, the Spaniard will have to fight off competition from Real Madrid if he wants to get his man.The La Liga giants are looking to sign a marquee player during the next transfer window and they have identified the Italy international as a top target.Juventus, however, have not changed their stance from last summer and will rebuff any approaches made for Bonucci. Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci last_img read more

England Women seek Ashes revenge after 2015 pain, says Katherine Brunt

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Australia’s Ashes hopes dealt blow with Meg Lanning ruled out through injury Read more features Topics Women’s cricket Since 2013, the women’s Ashes has been a multi-format series to allow a combination of the excitement of ODI and T20 cricket and the traditional Test match. This winter they will play three ODIs, one Test – a day-nighter at North Sydney Oval – and three T20s. Teams will earn four points for a win or two for a draw in the Test, and two points for a win in the limited-overs matches.Brunt, a traditionalist at heart, would prefer a Test series – “that would be an awesome thing to be a part of” – but accepts the schedule makes use of the draw of limited-overs cricket to bring fans through the gates and money in the pocket. Familiarity among foes is the norm in the international game, with many of the players squaring off against KSL of women’s Big Bash League. It has never diluted the competitiveness, but 2017 will see Ashes debutants in both dressing rooms forging their own, fresh rivalries.“Sometimes, the more the experience you have in a squad, the more the angst,” says Brunt. “You’ve been playing these battles for much longer. With more younger players in your team, there’s not as much because they don’t have history with the opposition. This time around, because we have more fresh faces, it’ll be new battles for both teams.”Preparation, led by the head coach, Mark Robinson, has been meticulous. An inter-squad three-day match was arranged at Chelmsford, simulating the day-night conditions that they will encounter in Sydney, with the pink ball and 2pm starts. “Even when we were moaning about playing at night [in Chelmsford], when it was freezing and conditions are dodgy – this, that and the other – you have to realise how good the preparation is for you. It allowed everyone to pick-up the rhythm [of the match] and work out what’s best for them. It was brilliant. You’ve got to deal with what’s thrown at you and I like to think that we’re always thrown more challenges than our opposition.”As with all day-night Tests so far, a pink ball will be used. Being in Australia, it will be a Kookaburra. Brunt isn’t a fan: “I’m old school, I like the red ball. And I’ve always been really jealous of the Tiflex or the Duke ball. They swing, they reverse-swing, they nip – they do everything you could ask for. It becomes the ultimate test. But with the Kookaburra, it doesn’t create the same conditions as what you’d normally find in a Test match. It’s easier to face because it doesn’t swing as much and it’s hard to get it to reverse. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s a challenge we’ll have to take on.”Brunt has pegged 2017 as her last World Cup, but what of future tours to Australia. “At the last one, I said this one would be my last if I got here. Now that I’m here, I’m thinking more year-by-year. Short-term, I’m looking at the 2018 World T20 as my next big series. Then again, I do love beating the Aussies.” Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian England women’s cricket team Share on LinkedIn The Observercenter_img Reuse this content “I’d say that’s around the right number. I’ve had a fair few, haven’t I?” Katherine Brunt, heart on her sleeve, fire in her veins, 32 years young, is preparing for her seventh Ashes series. Last week, she was named in England’s party of 15 to head to Australia to do as they did in 2013 – leave victorious. Cricket Clare Connor says cricket must seize initiative after World Cup success Share on Facebook Share via Email Share on Pinterest Read more Share on Messenger With Brunt, England have a veteran quick who raises her game for the traditional enemy. Her first series in 2005 ended in victory. So did 2013 and 2014. England’s new verve and a Meg Lanning-less Australia gives the tourists a strong chance off adding 2017 to Brunt’s honour roll.Australia hold the Ashes, reclaiming the trophy in 2015, a result that stung England, who were criticised in defeat for negative cricket, specifically in the one-off Test at Canterbury. A number of players were shaken by the experience.Despite winning the most competitive Women’s World Cup in the summer, Brunt will travel to Australia with the disappointment of two years ago driving her on. “We want revenge for losing. Just as they’ll want revenge thinking they should have won the World Cup.“Even though we’re coming back off a successful World Cup, I’m reflecting more on the last Ashes series. That felt like …” – she pauses as clarity makes way for frustration. “I mean to lose by virtually nothing!”The last meeting between the sides came in the group stage of the World Cup, when England beat the defending champions by three runs at Bristol. The support there and throughout the tournament helped carry the hosts to their fourth title. Cricket Australia are looking to recreate similar groundswells around the four venues for the upcoming series.Scheduling rarely does cricket or cricketers many favours, but the women’s game in England stumbled upon a run of competitions that brought it a wider audience.A home World Cup won in thrilling fashion at a packed Lord’s with a huge increase in the global television audience was followed by the Kia Women’s Super League. The domestic Twenty20 competition enjoyed an increase in standard and attendance in its second season: average attendances up by 33% to 1,379 and 3,413 turning out for Finals Day at Hove (the largest crowd for a domestic women’s match in this country). “We haven’t had much downtime, but I reckon it [the Ashes] has come around at the perfect time. When the interest in women’s cricket is at its highest,” says Brunt. Share on Twitterlast_img read more