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Issue 478 | December 2 2016

N o w w h a t ?

Greatness secured, Mo Farah looks to the future in our exclusive interview


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MAN OF TODAY BOSS BOTTLED INTENSE THE NEW EAU DE PARFUM

#MANOFTODAY


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“ D o n ’ t ca l l i t s o c c e r. i t ’ s ca l l e D f o ot ba l l . Yo u k i c k w i t h Yo u r f o o t, Y e a h ? ”

Cover image and this page: Hamish Brown

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love and hate Clare Balding: picks cake over tomatoes any day

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Diary Katie Taylor’s debut win; the Lines stun snooker

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flats on friday No fan of Mourinho and Pardew’s blame game

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editor’s letter Plane tragedy sees sport at its compassionate best

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the conte effect From a broken home to a happy family unit: how Antonio Conte has transformed Chelsea

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Mo farah The four-time Olympic champion on his legacy and marathon ambitions

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ryan Giggs Air miles, Jose Mourinho and leaving Old Trafford, with the Man Utd legend

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twelve days of eddie We relive the 12 games unbeaten that lead Eddie Jones’ England into a clash with Australia Bleed for This Miles Teller on playing boxer Vinny Pazienza, who was nearly paralysed after a car accident el clasico We preview the biggest game in club football

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watches Christmas time, for less than £1,000

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Video games An original Nintendo console? Yes please

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Grooming Look more presentable on Christmas morning

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kitchen Because our art editor needed a new blender


GAME CHANGING DELIVERY.

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Clare Balding brOADcAsTiNg DOyENNE, TOmATO DissENTEr, TissuE DEALEr “Any Olympic Or pArAlympic yeAr is pre t t y greAt.

“it ’s never much fun being tOld yOu hAve cAncer,

But watching the women’s hockey team winning gold would have been my absolute highlight as a sporting moment of 2016. You think how many penalty shootouts we’ve been into in various sports, and it ends in doom and gloom. To have one where Great Britain come out on top is just fabulous. And the way they celebrated – every boy, girl, man, woman watching that wanted to be in that team. The energy, the joy of it.”

so there’s not much that’s worse than that. I was very lucky in that I had thyroid cancer, which is very treatable. I mean, people do die from it. But I can’t think of a moment that would be more challenging.” “when i gO tO kids’ schOOls, they Ask: ‘Have you met Mo Farah?’ ‘Yes I have.’ ‘Have you met Serena Williams?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Have you met…’ and so on. Then they say: ‘Have you met Kobe Bryant?’ ‘Oh no!’ But I’d probably say Katherine Grainger is the person I’ve most enjoyed meeting through sport. I really admire her dedication to an unglamorous discipline. She’s great fun, too. I’ve also met David Beckham, by the way, who’s lovely. And Chad’s dad. I do like Chad le Clos’ dad.”

“i reAlly dOn’ t like tOmAtOes. They’re sort of evil little things. When somebody sneaks a bit of tomato into something, it gets over everything. It’s to do with the consistency of that watery nastiness of the skin and the pips. And it can’t decide if it’s a fruit or a vegetable. So that is, I think, untrustworthy. But I don’t mind tomato paste – I like pizza, you see – and tomato soup I can sort of stick.”

“i dOn’ t like generAl sOrt Of rudeness. I don’t like

people who are rude to waiters. I just think it’s so unnecessary.”

“i like swee t And sAlt y pOpcOrn. A lOt. It can be

breakfast, frankly. I like chocolate biscuit cake, obviously. Who doesn’t? And cheese. They’re all really fattening. I kid myself that popcorn is not fattening, because it’s very light. You can’t possibly put weight on by eating popcorn.”

“ they tOOk the mAdisOn Out Of the Olympics.

We just had a British pair, Manon Lloyd and Katie Archibald, win the first women’s Madison at elite level at the World Cup [in November]. And Katie had a broken wrist and Manon was concussed, because they had a crash early on. So that was pretty impressive. I’d bring it back into the Olympics. I love its complication and its craziness. I love it.”

Rui Ricardo

“i’m quite intOlerAnt Of sniffing. I have been known to

hand people a tissue because they’re sniffing, even though they haven’t asked for one. Like strangers on a train. I was walking with someone recently and he was doing a lot of sniffing, and I did just hand him a tissue. I’d had enough of the sniffing.”

Vote for your Action Woman of the Year at BTSport.com/ActionWoman2016. Voting closes December 5, with the winner announced at The Action Woman of the Year Awards Show, presented by Clare Balding on BT Sport on December 12

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d i a ry

Quote of the week

Debut of the week All eyes were on Katie Taylor at Wembley Arena on Saturday night, and she didn’t disappoint. The 30-year-old Irish boxer delivered an assured and classy display on her professional debut, seeing off Karina Kopinska with a third-round stoppage.

“I suggest you guys just let us race” Lewis Hamilton infuriated Mercedes team bosses by having the audacity to try and win the Formula 1 world title on Sunday. An unimpressed Toto Wolff saw his driver’s refusal to follow orders differently: “Anarchy does not work in any team or company.”

Number of the week

The Legend Forever.

41,276/1 tweet of the week Of all reactions to news of Steven Gerrard’s retirement, Xabi Alonso – his partner in Liverpool’s 2005 Champions Leaguewinning midfield – did it simplest and best.

Accumulated odds of trainer Gordon Elliott’s six wins – from seven races – at Navan racecourse on Sunday. The highlight was 12/1 shot Empire of Dirt’s victory in the prestigious Troytown Chase (left).

fat h e r a N D s o N of the week

Green giants

Photo of the week

Peter O’Mahony sums up the mood of a nation, as Ireland’s 27-24 win over Australia meant they became the first northern-hemisphere side since England in 2003 to beat the three big southern-hemisphere nations in the same year. A fitting day for captain Rory Best to win his 100th cap.

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PA Images. All other pictures Getty Images

Peter and Oliver Lines have been dethroning snooker royalty at this year’s UK Championship in York. Father Peter, 46, put out defending champion Neil Robertson in the first round, before 21-year-old Oliver (below) saw off Judd Trump in round two.


It’s time for Christmas magic. TISSOT CHEMIN DES TOURELLES AUTOMATIC.

TI S S OT WATC H E S .CO M TISSOT, INNOVATORS BY TRADITION


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Blame game reflects badly on football’s super-egos

Main illustration: David Lyttleton. Pen pic: Peter Strain

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he relative fall – or at least current tough period – of Jose Mourinho has not taken me by surprise. This isn’t because I’m a football expert, and it’s not because I’m a smug, post-event wise guy. It’s because, in sport – especially in team sport – I am always wary of the senior figure who appears to view rather too much of the world in the first person. Having played in pressurised team sport for many years, I feel I have a decent grip on what a changing room full of alpha males wants from its manager. There is a balance to it all and, certainly, it can be hard to achieve if you’re not naturally self-aware enough to objectively review your own behaviour. A manager such as Mourinho seems to care so little about how his behaviour might reflect upon or indeed affect his players that, well, he needs to keep winning, as a man like that running an underperforming side could be hugely damaging. Perhaps it already is. It’s not about telling the world your team are fantastic every week, when they clearly aren’t. It’s also not about hammering them after a blatant shocker. It’s not about blaming

referees for losses. And it’s not about bemoaning life’s lack of general fairness. I think managing complex, emotional team environments is about having the humility to at least act like there are still some things you don’t know. The second a manager blames someone other than himself is, for me, the second that he fails. Alan Pardew – still in a job at Crystal Palace at the time of typing – blamed his players last weekend, saying they should have seen out a victory against Swansea. He’s right, of course, but his players and the public have now heard his shovelling of responsibility on to the shoulders of others. Having observed the overly self-assured Pardew over the years, frankly, I find it disheartening that chairmen

“The second a manager blames someone other than himself is, for me, the second he fails” 10

continue to offer such a fundamentally and socially unintelligent egomaniac millions of pounds to control such vastly valuable teams. But still, that’s footie – and if he gets the boot from Palace he’ll waltz into another gig soon enough. Good on him, I suppose. My point is that we find out most of all about the people on whom we rely in team sport when times are tough. And tough times always, always come. Behaving admirably is easy when you’re winning, but pressure has a knack of revealing who we really are. For one so purportedly special, Mourinho – like the less celebrated Pardew – seems rapidly to disregard the importance of how his team might regard his behaviour when that rainy day arrives. I love football but truly, it agonises me that these same names seem all but glued to the high-value employment merry-go-round, whether or not they’re actually the right men. Just think of all the bright, humble, selfless managers in England who don’t get a sniff of the big time. Perhaps they need to start blaming referees a bit more often. @davidflatman


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Comments of the week

Put your phones away and just enjoy the sport

Never agreed to anything more than what @tonyhodson1 put in this week’s sport magazine @matthewlewis_28 @tonyhodson1 great article today in the Sport mag. Nothing annoys me more, was at the tennis last week and it was everywhere. Ban them all! @mitworray

Plane tragedy brings important perspective

Pen pic: Peter Strain. Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

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amos rezar,” came the message from Chapecoense Football Club in Brazil on Tuesday morning: “Let’s pray.” It is difficult to imagine the scale of the heartbreak engulfing the small southern Brazilian town of Chapeco this week. The joy that overwhelmed their football club at reaching the final of the Copa Sudamericana – South America’s equivalent of the Europa League – evaporated in the mountains of Colombia, as 76 lives were lost in the crash that took down their plane as they travelled to play the first leg of the final. That there were any survivors at all – five, at the time of writing, including a reported three members of the squad – is little short of a miracle. Football is no stranger to tragedy, of course, and this country has had its fair share. The crash in Colombia will resonate greatly with Manchester United fans who were alive at the time of the 1958 Munich air disaster, while the Bradford City stadium fire of 1985 and the 96 lives lost at Hillsborough four years later rightly remain at the forefront of our collective consciousness decades later. The abuse scandal threatening to blow the sport apart in England, precipitated by recent revelations about the many crimes of former coach Barry Bennell, is a very different kind of tragedy – but be in no doubt, it is one. It is obviously a blessing that such tragedies are rare – this is partly why they remain so vivid in the memories of those who have not been directly affected by them – but they also offer an important reminder of what is truly important, both within sport and outside it.

@tonyhodson1 never understood why folk get so cross about this. It doesn’t affect your own enjoyment one iota. @george_ogier Issue 477 | November 25 2016

We will watch on in the days and weeks to come as the communities of Chapeco, Brazil and the whole football world come together in a spirit of solidarity, comfort and remembrance. It is heartwarming to see sport’s great capacity for compassion, but also depressing to think that it takes sadness on such a huge scale to provoke it.

“It’s depressing to think that it takes such sadness to provoke sport’s great capacity for compassion” Contrast that with some of the other threads of this week’s sporting narrative: Jose Mourinho kicking a water bottle; Gary Neville whining about an article on the Daily Mirror website; Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika’s petty war of words about how their teams behave at the scrum; and the endlessly tedious debate about who should and shouldn’t be on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist. It’s easy to get drawn in to these debates and more, but then suddenly something happens that reminds you how little much of it actually matters. Perspective is an increasingly rare commodity, but weeks like this should remind us all of just how important it is. @tonyhodson1

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R e a d y t o R u m b l e Ronda Rousey, Katie Taylor and the rise of women in combat sports

Loving the cover story of @SportMagUK #women #boxing #fitness @lucycfry @davidflatman Running is bad for you. 20st pounding through ankles will end in disaster. Trust me, I know this. @BlokeinBath

Keep in touch with @sportmaguk sportmagazine sportmaguk info@sport-magazine.co.uk


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Cold front Stunning new game Steep brings the slopes to your sofa

Throw yourself off a virtual mountain in four exciting ways. Ambitious new game Steep brings players a snowy adventure playground modelled on the Alps, with skiing, snowboarding, paragliding and BASE jumping all on offer – all the thrills of extreme sport, without the risk of slamming into a tree. The world is beautifully rendered, and you can explore it on foot to unlock new jump sites at different locations on the mountain – just crack a window open to simulate that cool Alpine breeze. The game is built around an online multiplayer format, so you can post your exploits on social media, hook up with friends and compete against them to set the best scores on the digital slopes. Getting drunk and trashing a chalet afterwards is optional. Steep is out now on Playstation 4 and Xbox One

Nicola Adams

The boxer defended her Olympic title in Rio, and won gold at the World Amateur Championship. The face of women’s boxing is expected to turn pro soon.

Charlotte Dujardin

Retained Olympic gold in the individual dressage and took a silver in the team event on her long-time steed Valegro.

Jade Jones

‘The Headhunter’ added to her collection in 2016 – another Olympic gold, and a first European title in the 57kg taekwondo category.

Johanna Konta

The first Brit female to reach a Grand Slam semi final in 32 years with a run at the Australian Open, Konta ended the season ranked in the top 10.

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Dame Sarah Storey

The swimmerturned-cyclist added to her medal haul at the Rio Paralympics: road time trial, road race and individual pursuit gold.

Laura Trott

Two Rio golds made her Britain’s most successful female Olympian, and the manner of her victories impressed – cool, collected and quite brilliant.

All pictures Getty Images

Women of the year

One of these women will be named The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year next Thursday. Find out more at swoty2016.co.uk


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The best thing about this photograph, taken in the hours after Nico Rosberg secured the Formula 1 Driver’s Championship, is not the adoring look of disbelief on the 31-year-old’s face as he admires his prize, nor that it is an intimate moment candidly captured. It’s the fact that this isn’t actually the championship trophy, which will be handed out later in the year. This is what you win for finishing second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Eyes on the prize


Family man How Antonio Conte has transformed Chelsea from a broken home of malcontents into a happy unit playing like champions again Saturday Manchester City v Chelsea | Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm Words James Horncastle

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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ntonio Conte had what the Italians call occhi umidi. Windows to the soul, his eyes steamed up and began to blink, the lids acting like wipers to wash away the tears. “If I hadn’t already signed for Chelsea, I wouldn’t have been able to abandon that group of lads,” he told Sky Italia’s Paolo Condo. The lads to whom Conte referred were his Italy players. Recalling their experience at Euro 2016 choked him up. “In the 50 days we spent together, we created something unique and extraordinary; a family,” he said. “When we lost to Germany, we cried because we knew we wouldn’t see each other the following day.”

The Chelsea hierarchy did well to act swiftly and get Conte to commit to Stamford Bridge back in April – that is, before heart might overrule head. It would be wrong to call him a big softy who likes a cuddle every bit as much as Carlo Ancelotti, but the importance of being a family man to his management style often takes a backseat in the driving narrative of him as a win-at-all-costs, meticulous tactician who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Andrea Pirlo christened the dressing room at the Juventus Stadium “Cape Canaveral” – home of the Kennedy Space Center – because of the number of objects launched into the air when Conte entered to deliver his half-time team talks. The Any Given Sunday-style speech he gave back

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in his first season at Juventus, imploring his players to make their title rivals “shit blood”, only added to his tough-guy image.

Cutting cloth

But there is a sense and sensibility about Conte, a lighter touch that has perhaps come as the biggest surprise to his new players. Starting a new family in west London meant walking into a broken home. Champions a year ago, a tight-knit team had come apart at the seams, torn asunder by Jose Mourinho, who himself unravelled. Luckily, Conte announced himself as a tailor at his unveiling. The definition related to cutting his cloth according to the characteristics of the players available k


to him. It came in relation to whether he would play 3-5-2 or not, rather than how exactly he would stitch this team back together again. In order to do that, however, it wouldn’t be enough on its own to be a tailor. It’s not uncommon in Italy for coaches to liken the job they do to that of an exorcist. There are teams that go through so much trauma in such a short space of time that they become tormented by inner demons, needing someone to banish them. Conte is that man. He immediately took Juventus back to the top after back-to-back seventh-placed finishes in Serie A. As for Italy, two years on from being knocked out at the group stage of another World Cup, he made them the best team at Euro 2016.

Mourinho in a statement win against Manchester United. Last Saturday, his team defeated Tottenham, the league’s last unbeaten side. Christian Eriksen’s goal was the first Chelsea had conceded in more than 10 hours of league football. David Luiz is no longer a punchline. Marcos Alonso is unrecognisable from his Sunderland and Bolton days. Who knew Cesar Azpilicueta could play centreback? Victor Moses has been a revelation, recycled after loans at Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham, and repurposed as a wing-back. Eden Hazard is back to his PFA Player of the Year best. Pedro looks the player he was under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, while Diego Costa is now channelling his aggression towards scoring goals.

video analysis. Plus, Chelsea is deeply political. Conte has had to manage the John Terry situation and the expectations of one of the most demanding owners in football. After defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal in September, betting on Chelsea sacking Conte was briefly suspended – although sources at the club insist there was never any truth in it. The switch to a 3-4-3 formation in the second half against Arsenal is now considered the turning point in Chelsea’s season. Conte achieved great success with three at the back at Juventus, of course, but he is no one-system guy. This was a stick used to beat him when he returned to Juve as coach in 2011. At the time, local journalists claimed his teams played

“A tight-knit team had come apart at the seams, torn asunder by Jose Mourinho. Luckily, Conte announced himself as a tailor at his unveiling” They didn’t win the tournament in France (Germany knocked them out on penalties in their quarter final), but no team played better football. A similar task awaited him at Chelsea – the worst defending champions English football had known since Everton in 1971.

Mark Pain/REX/Shutterstock

Picking up

Over the past six weeks, Conte has made the job look like a piece of cake – a tiramisu, literally translated as ‘pick me up’, in every sense of the word. Chelsea have gone from eighth to top of the Premier League, winning seven straight league matches for the first time since 2007. Poignantly, Conte beat Jose

Champions less than 18 months ago, Chelsea are playing like champions again. It shouldn’t be taken for granted. Conte had a week’s holiday before taking the job. The Euros meant pre-season was shorter than usual. He didn’t get his first-choice transfer targets. Luiz, for instance, was a fallback option. Radja Nainggolan decided to stay at Roma. Alvaro Morata was serious about making it at Real Madrid. Conte himself had to get to grips with the language barrier, ensuring his message got across.

Managing change

There were cultural issues as well. Premier League teams are not used to long hours of tactical sessions, shadow play and

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only one way – and that wasn’t 3-5-2, but 4-2-4. That was how Conte had got Bari and Siena up to Serie A, and would be the formation he went to first at Chelsea. Ultimately, for the 47-year-old, it’s about the characteristics of the players available and striking the right balance. The tailor has cut his cloth accordingly, and found that 3-4-3 suits Chelsea best, just as 3-5-2 suited Juventus and 4-2-4 suited Bari and Siena. The exorcist in Conte has rid Chelsea of their demons, while the family man has brought the team together and put a smile on his players’ faces. This is the very essence of Contismo, as Manchester City and Pep Guardiola will discover on Saturday. @JamesHorncastle


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H O m e s t r A i g H t Four-time Olympic gold-medallist Mo Farah on falling, family and the future Words Amit Katwala Photography Hamish Brown

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o Farah has been thinking about tiMe and the way it Moves.

In the long hours on the road and the lonely months at training camps, it travels at two speeds. Slow and steady for his pounding feet; but all too fast for his young family back at home, hitting milestones and making memories in their father’s absence. On the treadmill, where Farah has been known to do 20-mile stints, listening to music and watching Arsenal helps the clock run faster. But on the track, in those agonising moments where everything is on the line, it seems to slow to a crawl. A slip during the Olympic 10,000m final this summer threatened to derail Farah’s dreams of defending his title in Rio – and the ‘double double’. He was on the floor only for a few seconds, but it seemed to drag on for aeons. The 33-year-old was lucky, he says, that none of his rivals noticed. He flashes that characteristic grin. “Nobody saw it,” he tells us. “If they’d seen, someone would have had a lot

more energy.” He sniffs the air like a shark sensing blood. “And then: gone.” Farah recovered to win that race, and picked up another gold in the 5,000m a week later. That makes him only the second person ever to successfully defend both titles, after Finland’s Lasse Viren in 1976. When we spoke to Farah before the Olympics, he had his athlete’s blinkers on. But now, as we chat in London’s Soho Hotel – where’s he’s promoting No Easy Mile, a documentary about his Rio journey – he is turning his attention to the future. He is thinking about time again. Time with his family, time to relax. And the vast swathes of unfilled time to come, stretching out in front of him like a running track.

have you found it difficult to keep yourself motivated after rio?

“I’m still motivated, I’m still working hard. I’d like to continue my career and end it on a high, which means I have to keep training – and I want to keep training. I’ve been enjoying spending time with my family, but I still have that hunger, which is a

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good thing. I want to do well in London [at next year’s World Athletics Championships, where he will end his track career], and I don’t want to disappoint the fans. “I want to end it on a high. That’s what keeps me driving, and I’d like to end it where it all started in London. It’s just, as you get older, it gets a little bit harder. And, as more people are aware of what you do day in, day out, it gets harder too.”

did you find rio more difficult than London 2012?

“Yeah, for sure. When I fell over in the 10,000m – that was hard to be able to get back up and continue on. And then to come back for the 5,000m, it wasn’t easy.”

how big a moment was the fall?

“That was massive. It’s a point where you doubt yourself, where you tell yourself it’s not going to happen. I just had to get over it as quickly as possible. And for me, what kept me going was trying to think about my daughter, think about my family, think about the past four years of what I have k


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to show people. There’s millions of people out there in similar situations, and I want to show them: if you work hard at something, you will get your rewards.”

In No Easy Mile, your coach alberto salazar says that while there might be other athletes more physically gifted, you have a mental edge. do you agree?

“Yeah. I think the mental side, it’s being able to… I was born in Somalia. Growing up and changing countries, I think that helped me mentally be a strong person, and that helped me in my career. If it was different, and you were just born and got everything easy, the mental side would be a little bit harder. “It’s like my kids – how do I teach them to be mentally strong? The mental side is the tough part. And I think sometimes, mentally, if you’re stronger than someone else, you have the edge on them. Physically, you might not have it, [but] on the mental side you can play games with them. It’s like in boxing, they do a similar thing, don’t they?”

there’s also footage of you going back to where you spent some of your childhood in djibouti, on the horn of africa. do people know you out there?

“Yeah. I’m not trying to big myself up, but it’s a small place and everyone kind of knows everyone. I think they’re very proud of who you are. And, even though I’m running for Great Britain, if you grew up there they see you as one of theirs and they always follow you. For me, the biggest thing is seeing a lot of kids who are a similar age to what I was, and seeing those kids have no shoes or playing around the streets with no lights. I was one of those children.”

did it bring back vivid memories?

gone through day in, day out. That’s the only thing that kept me going.”

You have four Olympic gold medals now – one for each of your children, as you have pointed out.

“No more kids! No more kids! They have their names, too. Each medal has a name engraved on the side of it. Rihanna is like: ‘That’s my medal. Does that mean I can do what I want with it?’ I’m like: ‘No – that’s for you for later. That’s yours, but for now I’ll look after it.’”

If she loses it, you will have to do another Olympics...

“You reckon? They can’t replace them, can they? If it gets stolen maybe, but not if your child loses it. I’m sure they have spare ones somewhere.”

It has been four months since Rio…

“It doesn’t feel like that. The scary part is seeing my son grow up so fast. He’s walking

now, trying to run and stuff. I’m like: ‘Oh my god, I remember this kid…’ Time has just gone by, and just [clapping his hands] boom!”

they must change a lot when you are away training for months at a time?

“They just jump! But now I’ve been spending the past four months after Rio with them, it’s a good thing. I’ve been home and spending time with them. It’s really good – I’m getting to know them, getting closer to the twins, and I’m having a little bit more of a talk with them. You become that parent again.”

that must be one of the hardest things about your job?

“Yeah, it is hard. And that’s why I wanted to do the documentary, to show that it’s not just easy or you get it on a plate. You’re not born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you know what I mean? It’s like, everything I’ve done in life I’ve worked for and I want

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“It was like, you imagine you live in this huge house and you have the fancy life. And you go back, in reality, it’s... it wasn’t a dream, but it was close to a dream. Because it’s not the way you remember. Everything seems much smaller. You’re more grateful for what you have.”

do you still feel connected to that place? and did it feel like home?

“I feel connected. But I think home for me is here, and I’ve spent a large amount of time – pretty much most of my life – here now, because I’m 33. But, as a child, I spent, like, four years [in Djibouti]. It’s where the journey started from. It was more like: ‘Here’s my journey.’ Like those programmes where you search your DNA, or go back to who you are and where you come from. It felt like that.”

You have been based in america for six years now. do your kids have american accents now?

“Proper American accents [Farah gives us his fairly terrible attempt at a West Coast drawl]: ‘Daddy, that’s awesome.’ No. It’s like: ‘No. Cut it out.’” k


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You’re not a fan?

“No, I don’t like it. The one thing that annoys me the most is when they say: ‘Daddy, we’re gonna play soccer.’ ‘What do you mean? Don’t call it soccer. It’s called football. You kick with your foot, yeah?’”

What has it been like over there since the presidential election?

[Farah pulls a face] “What, Trump? Listen, I’m British. If ever something happens, I’ll be back. I’ve got a country. I just don’t know – it’s one of those things where you go: ‘Thank God I’m British.’”

It must be quite a scary time?

Michael Steele/Getty Images

“It is… but I don’t know. He says a lot of stuff, like: ‘Look I’m gonna kick out all immigrants, Muslims.’ I’ve come across that, I’m one of them. At the back of your mind you do ask yourself: ‘Is it going to happen?’ And, if it did happen, you know what? I’m lucky – I have a British passport and I’m British.”

You have said your track career will end at the World Athletics Championships in London next year. After that, you will look at the marathon, right?

“I want to learn about the marathon, I want to continue towards the marathon. I find it hard, so I’ve got to learn and understand it more.”

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But other athletes have successfully made the switch before you.

“Yeah. It’s hard. It’s hard. But, you know what? You’ve just got to learn about it. Many of the great athletes, like Haile Gebrselassie [who won 10,000m gold at the Atlanta and Sydney Games], his first marathon I think he ran 2:09. I ran my first marathon in 2:08 [in 2014], so it took him a little while [Gebrselassie won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively from 2006, breaking his own world record with a time of 2:03.59 in 2008]. I’m hoping it’s not going to take me as long.”

What about after that? Do you think in 10 years’ time, you will be doing television punditry? “No, I think I see myself as a coach and involved in getting the next generation ready. That’s what I’d like to do.”

What kind of coach would you be?

“I would be strict, but at the same time I would be the kind of coach who asks questions: ‘Where are you going? What do you need to do? What have you done?’ Very creative. Exciting training, a different philosophy of training. One of the questions I ask myself is: ‘Why do people still train Tuesday and Thursday?’ Like, every track club goes training on a Tuesday and a Thursday – they’re doing that only because

26

B e H I n D

it’s been going on for years, and they don’t want to change it. Why not change it?”

Why change it?

“Because obviously it’s not working. We’re not producing athletes, so we need to train more or we need to train differently. Why not challenge it?”

Has your success inspired people?

“I hope it has, and that was the legacy we left behind in 2012 with me, Jess and Greg. I hope that has changed many athletes in different sports.”

Your wife Tania is one of them. She has been inspired to start running. “I know, it’s nuts! I can’t stop her now. I just find it amazing. It’s like 11pm and she’s like: ‘Mo, I’m going on the treadmill.’ I’ve been coaching her. Sometimes she finds it hard.”

Do you run together?

“Sometimes I go and jog with her, but I try and give her sessions and times. The other day she was doing a track session, I’ve said: ‘You might run for Great Britain.’ She’s like: ‘Are you being sarcastic?’” @amitkatwala Mo Farah: No Easy Mile is available on DVD and digital download now


W A i t i n g i n t h e W i n g s Man Utd legend Ryan Giggs on Jose Mourinho, management and memorabilia k Words Amit Katwala

29


R

yan Giggs made a name for himself terrorising defenders. We’re pretty

sure Martin Keown still has nightmares. The 43-yearold spent two decades flying down the left wing for Manchester United at Old Trafford, so it’s ironic that the one thing that used to frighten him more than anything else was the prospect of getting on an aeroplane. “I did have a really bad fear of flying,” he admits when we speak to him. “Which isn’t great when you’re a footballer and you’re travelling all around the world.” In touching scenes, Giggs would sit next to Paul Ince when United travelled away in those early days. The pair would hold hands during the scary bits. The Welshman racked up plenty of air miles in a lengthy career with the Red Devils – first as a player, and then as a coach under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, not to mention a brief spell as caretaker manager. That association ended in the summer with Jose Mourinho’s arrival, but Giggs has frequently been linked with managerial vacancies in the past few months. He remains open to offers.

What do you make of Manchester United so far this season?

“There was obviously big expectation with [ Jose] Mourinho coming in, and the players who they brought in – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly. They got off to a good start and then it’s just been a struggle with consistency, really. But I think it’s a really open league this year, and I don’t think they’re in a really bad position. It’s one of those seasons where people are just going to change their minds all the way through – at the moment Liverpool are on fire, at the start it was City, then it was Tottenham. It’s just a really close league. United would probably hope to be doing better, but they’re definitely not out of it.”

Have you been surprised by how quickly things have changed since Sir Alex Ferguson left?

“There was always going to be a change, because of Sir Alex’s power, his influence in that successful period, and it was just how you combated that. Now obviously David Moyes came in, Louis van Gaal came in, and now Mourinho’s come in – so I’m not surprised because the influence Sir Alex had on the team was so strong. When you go from champions to like, seventh and then fourth and fifth, it’s not what

“I plAyed In tHe old FootbAll leAGUe – FootbAll HAS jUSt Got bIGGeR, And I WIll SAy So MUcH betteR, tHAn It WAS 25 yeARS AGo” United fans are used to. But it’s about getting back to the top. Whether that’s this year or next year, I’m sure they’ll do it. Obviously the longer it goes, the more pressure is on the team.”

there had been a long drought before you turned pro in 1990 – United hadn’t won the league since 1967. How did the club change during your time there?

“Football in general changed with the introduction of the Premier League – I played in the old Football League, and it was the crossover to the Premier League in 1992/93 when football just went huge. It was already obviously a big sport, but football in general [exploded], with the media scrutiny. Within the club you went from say 13, 14 players and three or four staff to 26 players and, like, 20 staff as well. And it’s just got bigger, and I will say better

30

– the stadiums, the quality of the coverage is so much better than it was 25 years ago.”

do you have a favourite Man Utd kit?

“I did – it was probably one of my first, it was a bit quirky. It was 1992/93 (pictured), where it had strings along the collar. I also like the 1999 Champions League kit. I must have played in about 50 kits, so it’s hard to narrow it down to the favourites. Probably the early days, and then kits that mean a lot to you – ones you’ve won something in.”

do you have a lot of kits at home?

“I don’t have any memorabilia. I tell a lie – I have the Sports Personality of the Year award, and the PFA Player of the Year. Stuff like that – but no shirts, no trophies. All the trophies and medals are in the United museum. I’m not a big one to parade what I’ve done over the house.”


so I wasn’t just working once a week. It was every night, more or less, and spending time with the production team, the other pundits. You’re watching and talking about football – it’s something I feel natural doing even though I’ve not done a lot of TV.”

watford cornered?

What do you like to do outside football? “Early on in my career it was literally just football – so it was pretty boring, really. You train, you go home, you rest, you eat the right food, you have early nights... everything revolves around football. Then, as you get older, you get into your 30s and your late 30s and you start to relax a lot more, and realise there’s a big old world out there. I have a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, so just like any other parent I’m a taxi, whether it’s to football, lacrosse, drama. All that sort of stuff takes over your life. Apart from that, I like to cycle, I like to jog, I like to travel – just normal things that everybody enjoys.”

Where do you like to travel?

“It was challenging for me because I was still playing, so I was having to drop teammates and not pick teammates, so it was challenging in that respect. Actually managing and coaching, I felt really comfortable and enjoyed it – that wasn’t a problem. And setting up the team I really enjoyed. It was only two and a half weeks, so I didn’t have a lot of time to work with the team. But I enjoyed it and I learnt a lot.”

Are you still looking for a new role?

“Yeah, I am... I enjoyed the coaching role the past two years under Louis. But yeah, I left the club in the summer and actually I’m quite relaxed. I want to go back into football, but I earmarked taking a year out and just doing a bit of travelling, visiting other clubs, and now I’m doing a bit of TV work. I’m still watching games, I’m still keeping my eye in, but I’m also taking a bit of a rest. It was 26, 27 years going to the same club, doing the same thing.”

Did you get recognised much in India?

“Obviously it’s a cricket country, but they’re fanatical football fans as well, so yeah. It was a futsal tournament [the Indian Premier Futsal League], so I was actually playing over there. I got a chance to go to Chennai and Goa – places I’ve never been before. It’s one of the things I love about football: it gives you the chance to go to places you would never, ever go.” @amitkatwala McDonald’s Head of Welsh Football, Ryan Giggs, was speaking at Albion Rovers FC, where he was handing over new kit courtesy of the McDonald’s Kit Scheme. Visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/betterplay

League goals conceded from corners by Watford, more than any other side. They face West Brom, top of the ‘goals scored from corners’ chart, with six

the weekend’s fixtures saturday

Man city v CHELSEA Sky SportS 1, 12.30pm crystal Palace v southaMPton, 3pm stoke v Burnley, 3pm sunderland v leicester, 3pm tottenhaM v swansea, 3pm west BroM v watford, 3pm west haM v arsenal Bt Sport 1, 5.30pm

sunday

BourneMouth v liverPool Sky SportS 1, 1.30pm everton v Man utd Sky SportS 1, 4pm

Any nerves as a TV pundit?

Monday

“No – it was good in the summer that I did the Euros with ITV. It was a real family atmosphere because it was a tournament,

MiddlesBrough v hull Sky SportS 1, 8pm

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Portrait, previous page: Rex Shutterstock. This page: David Cannon/Getty Images

What was the hardest thing about moving into coaching and management?

“I like the south of France, Mallorca, I like to go to Dubai – when the weather’s like this in Britain and you’re able to go to Dubai, it’s 32, 33 degrees guaranteed. I like to just chill out, and I was there last week. I’ve also had the chance to go to India since I’ve finished – I enjoy going to America because you more or less get left alone.”


Twelve games of eddie

Scotland 9 England 15 old dogs, new identity stuart lancaster awarded seven Test debuts in his maiden game as head coach at Murrayfield four years previously. Jones handed out only one, to Harlequins back-rower Jack Clifford, but England still appeared energised. It was obvious that their style would be based on forward power – set-piece accuracy, strong carries and quick ball from brawny breakdown play. Though Scotland scrapped, cricketmad Eddie Jones scampered off the mark with a quick single. in one momenT On the hour mark, an England scrum splinters Scotland. New skipper Dylan Hartley emerges from the front row and informs referee John Lacey that Owen Farrell will kick for the posts.


Words charlie Morgan saturday Rugby Union England v Australia Sky Sports 2, 2.30pm

England 25 WalEs 21

Italy 9 England 40

England 21 IrEland 10

Introducing Itoje

Work hard, get lucky

A six-two split of forwards on the bench in Rome reinforced Jones’ desire for abrasive rugby. And among those replacements was a 21-year-old radiating hype. Jones did his best to downplay Maro Itoje’s potential, but hysteria was overflowing. Even England defence guru Paul Gustard suggested the rookie “could be a Paul O’Connell or a Martin Johnson”.

enhancing engines was another of Jones’ promises, the maxim being that England would need to be “30 per cent fitter”. He set out a stringent conditioning schedule. Some training days began at 6.30am and took in three separate sessions. George Kruis admitted each man needed to “empty the tank”. Against Ireland, the Saracens lock sprinted across the try-line to hold up Josh van der Flier.

In one momenT Itoje (pictured) takes to the field after 54 minutes. He looks imposing and entirely at home, paving the way for his World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year gong.

FrancE 21 England 31

In one momenT Scrambling back to smash Robbie Henshaw and dislodge the ball, Jack Nowell (pictured) saves another score in spectacular style.

England 27 WalEs 13

Stretching scars

Slam saved

evolution theory

Warren Gatland’s Wales arrived at Twickenham intent on repeating their remarkable World Cup escape act of six months before. Thanks to a psychological hangover that precipitated a Jekyll-andHyde performance from the hosts, they almost managed it. England made their opponents look ponderous early on, racking up a 16-0 lead. By the end, they were holding on for dear life.

on the verge of a first Six nations title in five years and a first Grand Slam since 2003, England produced perhaps their most uncertain effort of the Jones era to date. Sucked into a fractured encounter, the visitors wobbled after Danny Care’s solo try as Maxime Machenaud’s boot kept France close. Fortunately, Billy Vunipola and Ben Youngs worked an opening for Anthony Watson to bag the Grand Slam.

If ever you need to prove the cliche that competition breeds quality, watch this match back. Shorn of Saracens and Exeter Chiefs players involved in the previous day’s Premiership final, England dispatched a near full-strength yet oddly flat Wales.

In one momenT Replaced following an excellent shift, James Haskell (pictured) is barely able to watch the final exchanges from the his seat on the bench.

In one momenT George Kruis plunders a France lineout to preserve England’s 20-18 advantage. Steve Borthwick’s set-piece swotting wins the day.

33

In one momenT Expert man-manager Jones launches a vehement post-match defence of George Ford (pictured), who missed six straightforward kicks from the tee: “I’ve seen Tiger Woods miss putts and Michael Jordan miss jump shots, everyone has a bad day... but I thought the rest of his play was brilliant.” k

All pictures Getty Images

Strategic clarity deserted england during the 2015 World Cup. Above all else, eddie Jones’ selfordained brief was to bring it back. on the eve of his side’s final autumn fixture against Australia, we chart the 12 straight wins england have achieved under their new head coach in a remarkable 2016


AustrAliA 7 EnglAnd 23

AustrAliA 40 EnglAnd 44

men in the mirror

Sweeping Sydney clean

With Bernard Foley running riot and Australia slicing through for two tries at Suncorp, Jones was forced to think on his feet. He hooked Luther Burrell and reinstated George Ford at fly-half. Owen Farrell shifted to centre, unflappably slotting 24 points as England’s pack outthought and outfought David Pocock and Michael Hooper on the floor.

Paul Gustard took England’s concession of four tries in Brisbane personally. Demanding sturdier defence in Melbourne, he recited Dale Wimbrow’s poem The Guy in the Glass at a team meet to encourage self-criticism. What followed was an incredible feat of “rope-a-dope rugby”, to employ another Jonesism. England finished on 182 tackles to Australia’s 52.

Series sealed, the tourists remained unsatisfied and slapped Michael Cheika’s charges with a historic whitewash – Australia’s first to any nation since 1971. Another hasty replacement, Teimana Harrison making way for Courtney Lawes, was needed. However, England’s opportunism spurred their tired bodies over the line in an attack-minded epic.

IN ONE mOmENt James Haskell (above) chops down Dean Mumm, then bounces to his feet and completes a crucial turnover before referee Romain Poite adjudges a ruck to have formed.

IN ONE mOmENt On his 50th cap, Chris Robshaw (above) – no longer an openside, still irrepressible and almost irreplaceable – wins a breakdown penalty to end a phenomenal, 20-phase defensive set.

IN ONE mOmENt Mike Brown (pictured) wriggles over to score after latching on to Anthony Watson’s chip – a spontaneous team try. In a series dubbed “Bodyline” by Jones, England had bounced out Australia.

EnglAnd 37 south AfricA 21

EnglAnd 58 fiji 15

EnglAnd 27 ArgEntinA 14

No more monkeys

Strictly on script

Pumas problem solved

England had not beaten the Springboks in a decade, but – as they would underline against Italy a week later – Allister Coetzee’s crop were too incompetent to continue that curse. Ben Youngs’ breaks, setting up two of England’s four tries, crystallised a nimble display and shrugged an irritating monkey off his team’s back.

Jones called for disciplined “fish and chip” rugby to nullify the free-flowing flair of Fiji and, despite a few changes, England responded with ruthless efficiency. Semesa Rokoduguni bagged a brace, Owen Farrell went past 500 international points and a couple of defensive lapses could not shake the sense of building momentum.

England needed to adapt to adversity and think on their feet against Argentina after losing Elliot Daly to a red card within five minutes, and then Billy Vunipola to a knee injury. But they defended calmly, sought refuge in a robust driving maul and eked out yet another win. 10/10? No: 12/12.

IN ONE mOmENt In the middle of a fast-paced England attack, Billy Vunipola (pictured) barrels into Eben Etzebeth and knocks out the hefty lock. Referee Jerome Garces must stop play. South Africa were not the bullies of this one.

IN ONE mOmENt Alex Goode’s wellweighted grubber with three minutes left epitomises England’s commitment to precise pragmatism. Fiji full-back Metuisela Talebula cannot counter and has to carry the ball over his own try-line.

34

IN ONE mOmENt Argentina attack from deep in the first half and work a nine-onfour overlap. Jonathan Joseph (above) shoots up, blocking off the wide channels and derailing the move by tackling Jeronimo de la Fuente (not pictured).

@CharlieFelix

All pictures Getty Images

AustrAliA 28 EnglAnd 39 Breakdown breakthrough


Ta l k o f T h e D e v i l A remarkable comeback hits the screen: Miles Teller on playing boxing wild man Vinny Pazienza Words Alex Reid


F

or an actor in a biopic, it’s useful to have things in common with the real-life subject. A similar look and build,

for example – or the fact that a horrific car accident almost ended your career and, indeed, life. Admittedly, that’s a bit more niche. “I knew I’d be able to do his flash: the walk, the talk – the cocky stuff,” says Miles Teller on portraying the all-action American boxer of the 1980s and ’90s, ‘The Pazmanian Devil’ Vinny Pazienza. “However, that wasn’t as interesting to me as the middle of the film, when the accident happens and this guy is really…” His voice trails off, then picks up. “Having been in a car accident myself, and going through those months afterwards of introspective time; hearing that casting directors didn’t want to hire me because I had scars on my face. All of that. “I just like those moments where people have to dig deep. Knowing that every doctor, ever family member, literally everybody is telling you: ‘It’s not going to happen, that door is closed.’ And just being a bit bullish and maybe even a bit narcissistic, but feeling like: ‘I am going to do this. I’m going to prove all you guys wrong. I’m also going to prove something to myself.’ That really resonated with me.” The accident that almost ruined Vinny Pazienza’s life came in 1991. The then 28-year-old boxer had recently won a world light-middleweight title when he was involved in a car accident that broke his neck in two places. Doctors agreed not to fuse his spine, so long as he recuperated wearing a ‘halo’ – a metal contraption around his head and shoulders, held in place with screws drilled into his skull. The aim was to prevent any head or neck movement, because that could paralyse him. Even if the recovery was successful, he would never box again.

W h i p

a n d

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Teller, who made his name as an actor in 2014’s brilliant multiple Oscar-winner Whiplash, about a musician’s bond with a tyrannical mentor, can relate on a certain level. In 2007, the now 29-yearold actor was a passenger in a high-speed car accident that left him bloody and unconscious on the road.

The scars on his face and neck are far less noticeable now after laser surgery, as Sport can attest. We’re sat opposite a laidback Teller in a London hotel, as he tries to order each type of tea on the menu. “I’m not here for very long,” he explains. “Get it while it’s hot, right?” Yet filming the visceral car accident scene for Bleed For This must have brought back memories. “In my life, we had the accident, the car started to flip and I blacked out,” says Teller. “I kind of woke up, laying in the grass median [separating the road]. I saw my buddy and he told me what happened. I couldn’t believe I’d just been ejected from a car, but I also couldn’t feel my legs at the time. For a moment or two, I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was paralysed. “Similarly in this film, Vinny’s not driving, he’s not paying attention. He just wakes up in a hospital and then you deal with the result. So for me, it was more the aftermath that I could really relate to, because I was in a lot of hospitals, I got a lot of surgery – and you learn patience.

C o C k

o f

t h e

Wa l k

Teller is right about one thing: he can do the cocky stuff. Bleed For This has a frenetic opening that has Teller as Pazienza – years before his accident – struggling to cut weight before a fight; furiously peddling an exercise bike while wrapped in clingfilm to shed precious ounces. The weigh-in itself is fun, but the role is a tricky balance. Pazienza was a larger than life, motormouthed character, but the film is dealing with something very dark. “That’s a version of this movie that’s more family-friendly, that’s a PG13 – because Vinny is such a likeable guy,” agrees Teller. “But we show him [how it was]: in a casino the night before a fight, dropping poker chips on a naked girl. Then the next time it’s a new girl – it’s always a new girl – and he’s gambling. “But he never did drink, he never did drugs – he never did any of that stuff. And even though he’s got that persona, that bravado, you see it tested. You know he’s making a comeback, so those dark moments need be as low as possible.”

“i C o u l d n ’ t b e l i e v e t h at i ’ d

j u s t b e e n ej e C t e d f r o m a Ca r, b u t i a l s o C o u l d n ’ t f e e l m y l e g s at t h e t i m e ”

Although I’m not sure Vinny really has too much of that! But the actual event is more traumatic for the people around you.” Whiplash also features a car accident involving Teller’s character. An obvious question is whether he’s drawn to these roles because of what he went through. He shakes his head: “It’s just something that’s in a lot of scripts because, well… you talk to anybody who’s grown up in the US and, if they haven’t been in a serious car accident, somebody they know has. “At this point, I’ve lost two of my best friends in car accidents – five weeks from each other, less than a year after my accident. In their cases it was far less severe [than mine]. With the variables, they honestly should not have passed away. It was just very bad luck. I just think it’s in the fabric, the DNA of growing up in the States.”

37

Ah, the comeback. Of course. Yet even in the boxing world, replete with epic turnaround tales, Vinny’s real-life comeback stands out. Not only was he back in the ring just 13 months after an accident that should have ended his career, Pazienza couldn’t even wait for the halo to be unscrewed from his skull. Hiding it from everyone – including his trainer, former Mike Tyson coach Kevin Rooney – Pazienza began working out in secret in his basement. “Somebody told me the best fight scene is ‘Vinny versus bench press’,” says Teller. “To me, that’s a pivotal moment, because the audience knows the risk involved. But there’s only one person in the world who knows how you can bench press with a metal halo on, and that’s Vinny. “So we actually had Vinny on the set that day. I got goosebumps, because he k


showed me.” Teller drops into Pazienza’s Rhode Island twang: “‘I sit on the bench here, I kinda go back, shuffle myself down…’ He told me when he tried to pick up that first weight and described the pain – but he kept going. It’s an intense scene, but I love it because once he knows: ‘Okay, I can lift the bar up.’ [He knows:] ‘I can do this.’”

R o c k y

to

R ag i N g

Actors love playing boxers, as the sheer number who have tried their hand shows. Yet doing it well presents many challenges.

Pazienza – who legally changed his name to Vinny Paz in 2001 – has a great against-the-odds boxing story. But Teller knows he is up against stiff competition when it comes to the history of great boxing films. “Rocky was the first one that had an impact on me,” he says. “All my dad’s side of the family is from just outside Philadelphia, and all my mom’s side is from South Jersey, which means they’re Phillie sports-oriented. You know there’s statues of Rocky in Philadelphia? He’s not even a real athlete! And there’s like

box FReSh Actors who nailed real-life boxer roles RobeRt De NiRo Ja k e L a M ot ta

Brutal, magnificent, unflattering portrayal of the 1950s middleweight champ in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, Raging Bull.

Will Smith M u ha M Ma d a L i

The best bit of Michael Mann’s drab biopic Ali is Smith coming commendably close to capturing Ali’s superhuman charisma.

m a R k Wa h l b e R g M i c k e y Wa r d

Christian Bale won an Oscar for The Fighter, but Wahlberg also convinces as the tough, understated Ward.

DeNzel Wa S h i N gto N

“t h e R e ’ S o N ly o N e p e R S o N i N t h e Wo R l D W h o k N oW S h oW yo u ca N b e N c h p R e S S W i t h a m e ta l h a lo o N ”

r u b i n c a rt e r

Before he just churned out action flicks, Washington gave a powerful display as the wrongly imprisoned boxer in The Hurricane.

Sy lv e S t e R S ta l lo N e r o c ky b a L b oa

a bronze statue of him because of what he means. It’s that blue-collar guy, against all odds… Then as I got older, I’m in theatre school, and you watch Raging Bull and you’re like: ‘This movie is the greatest.’ So I have a real attachment to it.” With that, we leave Teller to tackle his Oolong tea. His boxing film never quite hits the peaks of the first Rocky or Raging Bull, but Teller brings plenty to the lead role. Well, there is a lot to work with. The Pazmanian Devil, as a boxer, led one hell of a life. @otheralexreid Bleed For This is in cinemas from today

38

Wars with Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago are legendary. What do you mean, they ain’t real?

Rex Shutterstock

Alongside learning dialogue and understanding a character, there’s learning to box, getting in shape and, in this case, acting while having a metal cage attached to your head. “There’s a lot of things that went outside my comfort zone,” admits Teller. “I’d never taken my shirt off on camera! So first and foremost, I had to look the part, meaning I had to lose 20lb, and I got down to 6 per cent body fat for that first fight scene. “The halo was just uncomfortable, there’s no other way to describe it. Actors talk about being in the make-up chair for six hours and that’s tough – that’s long and mundane. But it’s not like having this contraption on your head for 12 hours and your spine being compressed. I had screws with little rubber pieces on the end – because it’s obviously not screwed into my head. Like, spoiler alert! “But they still have to put it tight against your head – so tight that it doesn’t move, while Vinny starts more and more physical activities. Even shadow boxing in it. So I remember I had all these little dents in my forehead afterwards. Honestly, I can still feel ’em.”


7 days Our pick Of the actiOn frOm the spOrting week ahead

d ecember 2-8

Sat

Look away now

Turn off your phone, cut off the goal alerts – prevent your Twitter feed from showing any juicy spoilers. El Clasico, the biggest game in world football, kicks off on Saturday afernoon. That means, here in the UK, we won’t be able to watch it live because of longstanding broadcasting restrictions. There are ways around that, but if you don’t want to spend your Saturday afernoon closing pop-up windows, there’s an as-live replay at 5.15pm. Just make sure you don’t find out the result in advance. We can confidently make some predictions, however. A card of some colour seems likely for Sergio Ramos – he was sent off in the previous meeting between the

sides in April, and had to tiptoe through Real Madrid’s win over Sporting Gijon to avoid being banned. He’s not the only one to have fallen foul of the officials this season: Neymar currently has more yellow cards than goals for Barcelona this season. And Luis Enrique’s team have not been firing on all cylinders in the absence of the injured Andres Iniesta (knee ligaments). They’re six points behind Real Madrid afer draws against Malaga and Real Sociedad. Zinedine Zidane’s team are unbeaten in the league but will be without Gareth Bale, who suffered an ankle injury in the Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon, and young forward Alvaro Morata (hamstring). Luckily, Cristiano Ronaldo is in fine form – with 19 goals in 18 games for club and country as Sport went to press on Tuesday, including a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid. It’s bound – eventually – to be a must-watch encounter.

40

Most goals in El Clasico

21 18

16 15

Lionel Messi Barcelona Alfredo Di Stefano Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Raul Real Madrid

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Football La Liga: Barcelona v Real Madrid, 3.15pm As live on Sky Sports 2 from 5.15pm


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5

December 2-8

Southpaw ShowDown

three thingS about…

Charley hull

Wed>

Football Champions League: Basel v Arsenal BT Sport Extra, 7.45pm

Arsenal’s final Champions League group game sees them head for Switzerland, hoping to avoid what would be a fifh straight second-place finish. Afer a 2-2 draw with PSG at the Emirates robbed them of the chance to secure top spot, the Gunners are now relying on the French side to slip up in their final group game at home to already-eliminated Ludogorets. If they don't, history is against Arsenal – 10 of the past 13 Champions League winners won their group.

Sat

Billy Joe Saunders returns afer a barren 2016 Boxing Billy Joe Saunders v Artur Akavov BoxNation, from 7pm

Tue

351

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Days since Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders last fought. Injuries and postponements have kept the 27-year-old from defending the middleweight belt he took from Andy Lee last December.

These two boxers are both southpaws, which ofen makes for a curious clash of styles (though Saunders did outpoint the southpaw Lee in 2015).

79-52 Saunders’ opponent in Glasgow, Russia’s Artur Akavov, might be unbeaten in all but one of his 17 pro fights, but his level of competition is questionable. His past five opponents had a combined win-loss record of 79-52.

Golf Omega Dubai Ladies Masters Sky Sports 4, 8.30am

1. She is a rare beast Hull’s victory at the recent CME Group Tour Championship in Florida was the first by an English golfer on the US-based LPGA Tour since Karen Stupples won twice in 2004. The 20-yearold has a long way to go to match Laura Davies, who won 20 tour titles between 1987 and 2001.

2. She’s from Kettering The Northamptonshire town is no traditional hotbed of sporting prowess, but it did produce gravelly toned Burnley manager Sean Dyche and slow-motion former world snooker champ Peter Ebdon. Hull also shares a hometown with Mock the Week funnyman Hugh Dennis, rock band Temples and, most enjoyably, Weetabix.

3rd Spot in the Boxing News world middleweight rankings for Saunders. Facing number one (Gennady Golovkin) doesn’t look much fun, but if Saunders beats Akavov, a rematch with number eight (Chris Eubank Junior) would sell in 2017.

3. She’s richer than you Well, most of you. Hull has already amassed almost $1.5m in earnings on the LPGA Tour alone – not bad for someone who doesn’t turn 21 until March. World number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who is still a teenager, is on $7.4m. It’s not just the boys who do well from golf.

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Laura Kenny returns to the track this weekend for the first time since her Olympic double in Rio. She will race in the Revolution Series at the Lee Valley Velopark in London. Kenny will compete alongside fellow team pursuit gold-medallist Elinor Barker for Matrix Fitness RT in the Women’s Elite Championship, as she begins to refocus on April’s Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong afer time off the bike for her wedding to Jason Kenny.

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“Just because I’m world and Olympic champion doesn’t mean that I’m guaranteed a spot [in Hong Kong],” she said last week. “Afer Rio, I wanted to keep riding. Before the wedding, I was struggling to let cycling go... “I’m getting used to being ‘Mrs Kenny’, though. I signed an autograph ‘Laura Trott’ the other day.” On the men’s side, the top teams from the UK Championship will race against seven WorldTour pro teams. Ian Stannard goes for Team Sky, while Ed Clancy is up for JLT Condor and points race world champion Jon Dibben represents Team Wiggins. Tickets (£18 each) are still available from cyclingrevolution.com. Worth getting round there for.

Moore and Moore? Horse Racing Tingle Creek Chase Channel 4 & Racing UK, 3pm The retirement of the great Sprinter Sacre has lef a void at the top of the two-mile chase division, but Saturday’s Tingle Creek at Sandown offers a golden opportunity for at least one horse to try and fill it. In a fascinating clash between England and Ireland, the home challenge is led by Gary Moore. The Sussex trainer could run both two-time Tingle Creek winner Sire De Grugy (pictured) and the exciting young pretender Ar Mad, with sons Jamie and Joshua set to take the rides. Champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins should provide chief opposition with at least one of the two runners he lef in the race on Monday: Un De Sceaux, the trailblazer who chased Sprinter Sacre home at Cheltenham back in March, or the giant Douvan, arguably the most talented two-miler in training. Either way, this will be a fast and furious Tingle Creek. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Cycling Revolution Series, Round 3: London Eurosport, 7pm


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Turf war Rugby Union Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers v Northampton BT Sport 2, 5pm Even with influential personnel from either side on England duty at Twickenham a couple of hours earlier, this East Midlands derby feels like a decisive milestone in the Premiership season. The losers will head into a fortnight of European action low on confidence. Last weekend, Northampton slipped to seventh afer an insipid loss to Newcastle. However, they might welcome reinforcements. Wales wing

Warren Little/Getty Images, Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini

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George North should return and Louis Picamoles, a superb signing, is available to a beleaguered Jim Mallinder again. The France number eight has made a league high 21 offloads since arriving at Saints; he joins his club colleagues on the back of a try-scoring stint against New Zealand. Despite underwhelming performances on the road, Richard Cockerill’s Leicester have relocated a certain ruggedness in front of their home fans. They need that tenacity at Welford Road, to worsen their neighbours’ slump and keep place with the playoff contenders. Manu Tuilagi (pictured) was back for a scrappy defeat of Bristol last Friday. His midfield muscle is made for these occasions.

Oh CarOlina NFL Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks Sky Sports 2, 1.30am This time last year, the Carolina Panthers were assured of reaching the playoffs and were aiming to go the entire season unbeaten (they finished 15-1, losing in week 16). Fast-forward 12 months and they are bottom of the NFC South with a 4-7 record. Last weekend’s defeat to the Oakland Raiders lef coach Ron Rivera (pictured) spouting the line: ‘Mathematically, we still have an opportunity.’ By way of response to his team’s chances of reaching the playoffs, this did not sound hugely encouraging.

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Their opponents this week are the Seattle Seahawks, who are back on home soil afer a disappointing 14-5 defeat at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. But they are by some distance the most impressive team in the NFC West, their 7-3-1 record leaving them far ahead of the Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1) in second. The Seahawks were without several key men against the Bucs, but should be bolstered by the returns of cornerback DeShawn Shead and free safety Earl Thomas, who missed the first game of his six-year NFL career last week. Their offense has more to prove, though, afer a solitary field goal last week.


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Our pick of pieces available for less than £1,000 1. Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 £530 | certina.com 2. Farer Barnato £420 | farer.com 3. Victorinox I.N.O.X. £459 | victorinox.com 4. Movado Series 800 £595 | movado.co.uk 5. G-SHOCK G-STEEL GST-210B-1A9ER £310 | g-shock.co.uk 6. Seiko Prospex Padi £349 | seiko.co.uk 7. Shinola The Canfield Chrono £730 | shinola.co.uk 8. Tissot Tradition £525 | tissotwatches.com

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Liam Phillips 2015 and 2014 BMX SX World Cup Champion 2013 BMX World Champion


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Sport’s seasonal picks: all present and correct

1. Barbour Scarf & Gloves Gift Box Inspired by Barbour’s Scottish heritage. Contains a luxurious lambswool scarf in the signature classic tartan. £47.95 | barbour.com 2. Herschel Supply Co Iona Backpack A great everyday companion, with handy laptop pocket. £41.99 | surfdome.com 3. Aspinal of London Leather Hip Flask Handmade in the UK, perfect for a wee dram while mobile. £49 | aspinaloflondon.com 4. Beams Plus Intarsia Sweater Not a typical Christmas jumper; knitted from robust and exceptionally warm wool with a vintageinspired Nordic pattern. £155 | mrporter.com

5. Levi’s Sherpa Trucker Jacket The classic Trucker, updated for winter with insulation on the torso, collar and sleeves. £99 | levi.com 6. Filson Mackinaw Cruiser Patented in 1914 and designed to protect American forestry workers from harsh conditions, this looks just as good around town. £335 | 9 & 13 Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RS

9. Debenhams Ben Sherman Gingham Polka Dot Shirt Colourful and super-soft. Part of a new collection exclusive to Debenhams. £55 | debenhams.com 10. Red Wing Classic Moc 877 An American icon. Practical, yet stylish and comfortable. £269 | redwingheritage.eu

7. Marks & Spencer Fairisle Print Trunks A triple pack of patterned, festive pants. £18 | marksandspencer.com

11. Marks & Spencer Animal Embroidered Boxed Socks Cosy and lightweight, these socks are an underwear drawer must-have. £10 | marksandspencer.com

8. Polo Ralph Lauren Scarf A versatile Italian-made scarf made from a premium wool blend. £55 | harveynichols.com

12. Original Penguin Twisted Yarn Beanie Ribbed, twisted design. Made from 100 per cent cotton. £25 | originalpenguin.co.uk

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Video games 1. Sony PlayStation 4 Pro The new PS4 is designed and built to take advantage of 4K and HDR display technology. £349.99 | game.co.uk 2. Our favourite PS4 games of 2016 (left to right) Unchartered 4, £29.99 | Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, £46.99 | Pro Evolution Soccer 2017, £32.99. All available from game.co.uk 3. Turtle Beach Stealth 350VR Created specifically for VR, this gaming headset’s ergonomic design leaves room for your VR headband and cables. £57.99 | amazon.co.uk 4. PlayStation Socks Echoing the design of the original PlayStation. £9.99 | game.co.uk

Gifts you actually want. Game on 5. Nintendo Classic Mini NES Continuing the retro theme is this little bundle of 1980s joy. The 30 classic pre-installed games will keep you busy over the Christmas holidays. £49.99 | nintendo.co.uk 6. Nintendo Zapper Gun Lamp What better to accompany your new Mini NES than a lamp made from a light gun and controller? Genius. £66.15 | etsy.com/uk/shop/1upForge 7. The Art of Atari Sourced from private collections worldwide, this book spans more than 40 years of the Atari’s unique illustrations used in packaging, advertisements and catalogues. £23.39 | amazon.co.uk

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8. Microsoft Xbox One S The new Xbox introduces 4K visuals – which means richer, more luminous colours – Blu-Ray and streaming. It’s also 40 per cent smaller than the previous model. £279.99 | microsoftstore.com 9. Our favourite Xbox games of 2016 (left to right) FIFA 17, £44.99 | Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, £19.99 | WWE 2K17, £34.99. All available from game.co.uk 10. Street Fighter II Christmas Jumper Your Uncle Sport is a big fan of this Ken versus Ryu jumper, featuring a crew neckline and ribbed trim. 100 per cent acrylic. Hadouken! £22.99 | numskull.co.uk


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Grooming

A festive arsenal to upgrade any routine

1. Gillette Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ProShield Gift Pack Bringing you grooming products from a galaxy far, far away. This pack includes ProShield Razor, three blades and shaving gel. £17.99 | superdrug.com 2. Acqua Di Parma Colonia Christmas Gift Set The original Colonia is an exquisite blend of Sicilian citrus fruits and flower essences. The gift set includes a Colonia Eau de Cologne (100ml), a Bath & Shower Gel (75ml), and a Body Cream (75ml). Something of a timeless classic. £93 | harrods.com 3. Braun Beard Trimmer Features a precision dial for up to 25 exact length settings to create individual style. £22.77 | argos.co.uk

4. Elemis Shave and Beard Oil Ideal for anyone smoothing and maintaining their beard – or even preparing to shave it off. £22.50 | amazon.co.uk 5. Bulldog Grooming Kit Contains Bulldog’s Original Face Wash (150ml), Original Shave Gel (175ml) and Original Moisturiser (100ml). Simple, effective and ever-reliable quality. £15 | bulldogskincare.com 6. Gentlemen’s Tonic Shave Gift Set Presented in a gift box featuring Gentlemen’s Tonic Pre Shave Oil (50ml), Traditional Shave Cream (125g), Soothing Aftershave Balm (100ml) and a Super Badger shaving brush. £110 | amazon.co.uk

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7. 71/72 by Floris London for Turnbull & Asser A collaboration between Floris London and Turnbull & Asser designed to evoke the experience of stepping inside Turnbull & Asser’s flagship store for the first time. £160 for 100ml | turnbullandasser.co.uk 8. Mr Porter Grooming Kit, Winter 2016 From LAB Series to Clinique for Men, Mr P has selected 12 top grooming products to bolster any daily routine. £75 | mrporter.com 9. Aveda Hand-pick your selection – we’ve gone Grooming Clay, £21.50, 75ml; Liquid Pomade, £19.50, 200ml; and Composition Oil, £24, 50ml – and Aveda will gift wrap it for you, in-store or online. gift.aveda.co.uk


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Kitchen Prepare a festive feast, or crack open a hamper 1. Ruark R1 MK3 DAB Bluetooth Digital Radio Super-sleek, perfect for the kitchen counter. £199.95 | johnlewis.com

5. The Bacon Jam Cookbook A cookbook full of recipes concocted with Eat 17’s lovely bacon jam. £11.49 | amazon.co.uk

techniques, and then made into a silk cushion that will look great in any room. £125 | silkenfavours.com

2. Master Class Ceramic Artesa Cheese and Chocolate Fondue Set Entertain or dip in, with this classy set. £43.10 | amazon.co.uk

6. Smeg Slow Juicer Ideal for making a post-workout smoothie. Its slow-squeezing system preserves fruit and vegetables’ taste, colour and nutrients. Tasty. £449.99 | coopelectricalshop.co.uk

9. Kitchen Mushroom Garden A unique way to grow mushrooms in your own home; takes just two weeks to produce a bouquet of tasty oyster mushrooms, grown in upcycled coffee grounds. £19.99 | firebox.com

7. Victorinox Grand Maître Steak Knife Set A beautiful set of steak knifes, just right for cutting into a beautiful chateaubriand. £290 | victorinox.com

10. Fortnum & Mason The Huntsman’s Hamper Luxuries include Christmas pudding, cognac butter, Marc de Champagne truffles, chocolate macadamia nut biscuits, salted Marcona almonds, marmalade and strawberry & champagne preserve. £125 | fortnumandmason.com

3. Marks and Spencer The Collection Festive Hamper Filled with a selection of alcohol, a Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and more. £250 | marksandspencer.com 4. De’Longhi EC.680.M Dedica Coffee Machine A traditional pump espresso machine to create your perfect coffee. £149 | amazon.co.uk

8. Silken Favours Pineapple Cushion Painstakingly designed using pen and ink

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