MADRID - Barcelona will give Lionel Messi every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of their second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Messi was taken off at halftime during last week's 1-1 first-leg draw with a thigh injury.
MADRID - Real Madrid made it two from two under Carlo Ancelotti with a 1-0 victory at Granada, but Los Blancos were again made to work for the three points. Rumours of Gareth Bale's impending arrival in Madrid had dominated the build-up, but Karim Benzema wasn't distracted as he opened the scoring after just 10 minutes.
NEW YORK - Rafael Nadal took his 2013 hardcourt record to 16-0 on Monday as he swept into the US Open second round, while Venus Williams celebrated her 60th major with purple hair and a strong win. Nadal breezed to a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over American wildcard Ryan Harrison.
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa skipper Jean de Villiers admitted that an unimpressive win over Argentina was a timely reminder the Springboks must improve before tackling Australia and New Zealand during September. A subdued national squad arrived in Johannesburg after two late Morne Steyn penalties scraped a 22-17 win against the Pumas.
RIO DE JANEIRO - Deco, the former Barcelona, Porto and Chelsea midfielder, has blamed injury on his decision to retire from football at the age of 35. The Brazilian-born former Portuguese international hung up his boots on Monday with a clutch of titles to his name, including the Champions League with Porto in 2004 and again two years later with Barcelona.
LONDON - Tottenham have received offers from more than one club for Real Madrid target Gareth Bale, according to reports on Monday. Bale has been widely expected to complete his long-awaited move to Madrid this week for a world record fee of around STG85 million ($F251m).
LONDON - Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal fans have been "brainwashed" by the constant negativity surrounding his team. Wenger came under fire from large sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd following Arsenal's 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.
SYDNEY - Cronulla are the real deal and the race for the NRL minor premiership is well and truly back on after the Sharks stunned the ladder-leading Sydney Roosters 32-22 on Monday night. Thumped 40-0 by the Roosters just five weeks ago, the Sharks completed a remarkable turnaround at Remondis Stadium — the victory set up by a brilliant opening half when the home side ran away to a 26-0 lead.