The figures compiled by Barcelona-based Prime Time Sport underlined how Spanish top-flight teams, excluding wealthy Real Madrid and Barcelona, are increasingly being forced to cash in on top performers to stay afloat.


They also suggested UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, currently being phased in and designed to prevent clubs spending more than they earn, are beginning to bite.

La Liga clubs sold players worth 480 million euros (404 million pounds) in the transfer window which closed on Monday, Prime Time’s latest Football Transfer Review showed.

Almost a third of income, or 139 million euros, came from deals with clubs outside Spain.

The majority of players were sold to English Premier League sides, including Mesut Ozil leaving Real Madrid for Arsenal, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas joining Manchester City from Sevilla and Roberto Soldado switching to Tottenham Hotspur from Valencia.

La Liga clubs spent 400 million euros buying players, the second highest amount ever, yielding a net profit of around 80 million, with Real (183 million) and Barca (57 million) accounting for 62 percent of the outlay.

Outside the big two, the world’s richest clubs by income, four clubs did not spend anything at all on players and nine laid out less than 3 million euros each.

“La Liga is now more of a seller than a buyer and except for Real and Barca is experiencing difficulties in holding on to talent,” Prime Time said.

“As many as 13 of the 20 teams in La Liga took their chance to cash in and clean up their accounts.”

The study also showed that after Real’s purchase of Gareth Bale from Spurs for a record 100 million euros the club has spent 611 million on players in the past five years, almost 40 percent of the total for La Liga.

They have spent 75 percent more than arch-rivals Barca (348 million), who bought only one player in the close season – Brazil forward Neymar from Santos for 57 million euros – for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Barca have the joint-most players from their own academy with 17, the same as Athletic Bilbao who only field players of Basque origin, Prime Time said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Robson, 19, eliminated Li in the third round at Flushing Meadows last year.


The fifth-seeded Li beat Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-2 on Arthur Ashe Stadium court and Robson, seeded 30th, advanced with a 6-4 7-6 victory over Caroline Garcia of France, winning the second-set tiebreak 7-5.

“After last year I think both players improved a lot. I’m really looking forward to playing against her,” Li told reporters about a rematch against former Wimbledon junior champion Robson.

“For sure, really challenging, a lefty, aggressive player. Also, I can prove myself after one year whether I can do better than last year.”

Robson said she well remembered their showdown at the 2012 U.S. Open.

“I remember being so nervous when I walked on court,” the Australian-born Briton said. “But just fighting through that and just sticking with her.

“I think she made a lot of mistakes in the first set, which helped quite a lot. Hopefully she’ll do that again.”

Li, 31, believes she has improved since taking on Carlos Rodriguez as her coach last year, although it has been a process.

“The first one or two months we have, he didn’t talk too much, because he have to see what I’m doing,” world number six Li said.

“After, I think especially in the winter training, we talk a lot. Not every day, but every second day we talk a lot to know each other pretty much,” she added about Rodriguez, a former coach of seven-times grand slam winner Justine Henin.

“I was feeling pretty happy the way he is like now. We are communicating.”

Li, a sporting trailblazer in China with more than 10 million fans on Chinese social media, said her relationship with a coach influenced more than just tactics and technique.

“I was feeling that a coach for me not only is about tennis coaching. He teaches me a lot like off of the court. He tells me a lot of experience, especially (for) press conference, communication with friends, with family, so many things.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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Australian Open champion Djokovic and French Open winner Nadal have designs on adding a second grand slam to their honours this year but first must get past familiar foes in Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka and France’s Richard Gasquet, respectively.


Top-seeded Djokovic, who advanced to his 14th successive grand slam semi-final with a four-set victory over Mikhail Youzhny, and Nadal, a straight-sets winner over fellow-Spaniard Tommy Robredo, have both lost only one set in the tournament.

The darkhorse challengers, however, are at the top of their games, both wielding lethal one-handed backhands as a key part of their arsenal.

Nadal said there was no danger of him looking past longtime friend Gasquet and at a possible marquee clash with Djokovic.

“I hope to be ready to play a good match against Richard. If not, I will not have the chance to play the final,” the second-seeded Spaniard said.

“If I don’t play great match against Richard, I will see the final on TV. I am focused only to play great match in semi-finals against Richard.”

The eighth-seeded Gasquet went five sets to beat big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada in the fourth round, and went the distance again to eliminate fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarters.

Wawrinka caused an even bigger splash as he improved his 2013 record to 41-15 by ousting Wimbledon winner and defending U.S. Open champion Andy Murray of Britain in three breezy sets in his quarter-finals tilt.

The Swiss said he was most proud of how he dealt with the pressure of playing against Murray, since in the past he has often been plagued by nerves.

“My level of tennis right now is quite good. I’m really confident with myself, with my game,” said 28-year-old Wawrinka, whose victory over third seed Murray lifted him to his first grand slam semi-final.


Djokovic knows first-hand how dangerous Wawrinka can be, having gone through a titanic five-set struggle against him in the fourth round at the Australian Open that he clinched 12-10 in the final set of a superb contest.

“It’s definitely one of the most exciting matches I have played in my life on this surface, that was played on a very, very high level,” the Serb said about that hard court encounter in Melbourne on his way to winning a third straight Australian crown.

“In the past we all knew that he has the quality to play that well, but not in a consistent basis.

“He’s a very complete player. He can play equally well on any surface. He had one of the best seasons in his life.”

Wawrinka said the contest against Djokovic was a turning point for him.

“It’s one of the keys of the season, for sure,” the Swiss said. “That was a really tough moment, but at the end, I was really positive with that match because all Australian Open my level was quite good and was better than ever.”

Djokovic said he was bracing for Wawrinka’s best after his impressive performance against Murray.

“That was quite impressive,” he said. “I’m sure he’s very confident and he has nothing to lose now. He’s going to go for the win.”

Djokovic leads their head-to-head series 12-2, with wins in their last 11 meetings.


Nadal is a perfect 10-0 against Gasquet, who he has competed against since their junior days.

The Spaniard said he had great respect for his opponent and was pleased to see him make it to the last four at Flushing Meadows.

“He’s a nice guy, very nice person, one of the players on the tour that I feel closer (to) because we are from the same age. We always had a good feeling,” said Nadal.

“So it’s great, no? When you see a player like Richard that we grow up in similar ways and we played when we were kids. We have the chance to be in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, so is great.”

Even Djokovic felt good about Gasquet’s advance to his second grand slam semi-final following his maiden journey six years ago at Wimbledon.

“Richard was always one of the most talented players that played the game with one of the most beautiful and also most efficient backhands that we have seen,” said Djokovic.

(Editing by Steve Keating)

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He was injured in a collision with Aston Villa defender Antonio Luna in Arsenal’s opening day Premier League home defeat on Saturday which ruled him out of their Champions League qualifier at Fenerbahce on Wednesday.


British media had reported that the 20-year-old could be out for up to six months but Wenger allayed those concerns.

“It will be at least six weeks out with a posterior cruciate problem… a ligament that is stretched. We don’t think it will need surgery,” the Arsenal manager told a news conference ahead of the playoff first leg in Turkey on Wednesday.

The Arsenal manager has found himself under early pressure following Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 reverse against Villa which followed a difficult close season in the transfer market.

The north London club made a failed bid to sign Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from Liverpool and were rebuked by Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew on Monday for lacking respect after making an offer for French midfielder Yohan Cabaye.

Arsenal’s bid came before Newcastle’s game at Manchester City which they lost 4-0 with Cabaye left out of the team.

“I do not know whether it is fair or unfair,” Wenger told reporters. “I just do what is best for this football club.”

Arsenal, who finished fourth last season to clinch a Champions League playoff spot, have so far signed only Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre and Wenger is under pressure from disgruntled fans to sign some quality players.

The Frenchman said he will try to reinforce his squad but emphasised that he has faith in the players he already has.

“As always, we do what we think is right,” he was quoted as saying on the club’s official website ( “When we think we have the right players, we do it.

“We were for years restricted and we competed with exceptional quality. This year we did not lose any players – we just lost two players with injury – but we will try to strengthen the squad and make the right decisions until the end.

“I repeat many, many times that the transfer window should be over before the season starts because it is a little bit destabilising once the season has started – to be there talking about what is not really important in football.”

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ken Ferris)

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Tokyo beat Istanbul by 60 votes to 36 in a head-to-head vote by IOC members in Buenos Aires on Saturday, giving the Japanese capital the Games for the second time.


Madrid had been eliminated in a first round of voting.

“Both Tokyo and Madrid have hosted the games before; Istanbul hasn’t. It hasn’t been fair,” Erdogan was quoted as saying in Turkish media. “In a way, they are cutting ties with the 1.5-billion-people Muslim world.”

Civil unrest, the unstable political situation on the country’s doorstep and a wave of high-profile athletics doping cases are seen as the chief culprits for the IOC’s decision to overlook Turkey, which has a predominantly Muslim population, again after Istanbul failed in bids to land the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games.

While the unrest in neighbouring Syria was seen by some as counting against the bid, others felt a heavy-handed police crackdown during recent anti-government protests also damaged Turkey’s image.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Games, had an estimated non-Games budget of around $4.4 billion for 2020 plus $3.4 billion for the actual event.

Istanbul’s proposal had a total cost of $19 billion, making it more ambitious but also risky given the country’s lack of experience in staging major sports events.

Another worry for Istanbul has been the wave of doping cases which have resulted in the Turkish Athletics Federation banning dozens of athletes for drugs violations, most recently double European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit.

Turkey’s Sports Minister Suat Kilic said doping was not an issue peculiar to Turkey while Erdogan said the country was taking steps to fight it.

“We have said ‘zero tolerance against doping’ and have started our work,” Erdogan said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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