So you thought BTS was taking a break? lol

A guide to her solo projects and upcoming group activities (so far). (Author: Gardener)

BTSFollowing the release of their anthology album, BTS shared a taped dinner with fans. Amid a delicious-looking display of shrimp, meat and sides, the boys announced they were taking a break from making music as a group to pursue solo projects. Looking back, the announcement wasn't surprising - BTS have spent the past decade living and making music together, so a hiatus to find their own personal sounds and stories was perhaps overdue. Not to mention that BTS may still have to take part in South Korea's mandatory military service until they turn 30, which would keep the band apart for the foreseeable future (Jin, who turns the big 3-0 in December, would it be the first member to that logs in). But immediately after the announcement, the news of BTS's hiatus caused a kind of hysteria: Hybe's stock (that would be BTS's management company) plummeted, with many observers speculating that the "pause" would look like One Direction's (namely BTS). never return as a group), and fans began planning their lives without constant updates from the tannies (some decided to work on themselves). That being said, no one could have guessed that BTS would immediately launch her solo career. Immediately after their emotional dinner, which heralded a plethora of solo projects, Jungkook released a collaboration with Charlie Puth, while J-Hope announced a full studio album. V, always the tastemaker, made his way to Paris to attend Celine's summer 2023 menswear show. Art connoisseur RM went on a small backpacking trip to Europe for Art Basel while the rest of the members stayed in Korea. Mind you, I'm writing this just three weeks after their so-called hiatus, which was announced on June 14th, the same week they announced a reunion concert in October to support Busan's bid for the 2030 World's Fair (they also seem to be vlogging) . . So far, a BTS hiatus to pursue solo projects hasn't meant a curtailment of activity. But let's try anyway - here's a handy little list of her solo activities, which I'll update often: J-Hope is the first member to release a studio album. The album, titled Jack in the Box, seems to play with the myth of Pandora's Box, where the only thing left was the greatest evil of all - hope. The visual teasers suggest Hobi is leaning into the dark with this new record, playing around with new sounds and raw themes. And hot for him... Anyway, he'll be headlining Lollapalooza - previously known as Hobipalooza - on July 31st following the album's July 15th release. The youngest was the first to release a track in the post-BTS hiatus world. In Charlie Puth's summertime catchy song "Left and Right," Jungkook sings about how he can't get a vague lover out of his head because they "did things to me that I just can't forget." The song is sweet and very fun to drive. The music video is the second in which Jungkook both gets hit by a car and maybe has a gay lover. He is currently working on his debut album. In June, Kim Tae-hyung headed to Paris to sit front row at Celine's summer 2023 menswear show. If you're familiar with Korean vacation variety shows, you'll know that this quiet, drama-free series about hot friends who get together to make each other's breakfast is balm for your cracked brain. If you want a headless summer of five handsome men to chill out with, this is for you. As for the music, Tae has been teasing his solo stuff for a while, but has admittedly deleted anything that doesn't go into the race. If there's one thing you need to know about the leader, main songwriter and extraordinary nature of BTS, it's that he has a thing for visual arts. Aside from being a pop music giant, he is also an art world influencer whose private collection features some of the most exciting artworks by Korean and international artists. As a former art person, I can understand his fascination with the timelessness of paintings and sculptures. He took that idea and ran on an episode of the Art Basel podcast, in which he expresses his desire to find something lasting in his own career and reveals his plan to open his own museum. Nothing is known about new music yet. In an interview with Weverse Magazine, Jimin says he's working on a "raw" and "explicit" solo album. "I just think I can show something rawer about myself. There could be a more mature side to that too, but what I'm really interested in is showing something that's closer to my real, personal rawness, directly in a format like music or music videos," he says. "I want to be better and cooler." In the meantime, he has been meeting with producers and spending time recording either at his company or with CEO Bang Si-hyuk, according to the video of their fateful dinner. Aside from releasing his OST for her new video game BTS in Seom, Suga doesn't appear to be releasing any music any time soon - at least that's the official line. Eagle-eyed fans noticed that his Apple Music profile combined his music under one profile (he currently has the Suga and Agust D profiles, the latter being the alias he uses to release mixtapes). Apple has since separated the profiles, but fans believe something is afoot. Agust D and SUGA profiles are merged on Apple Music. - SUGA STREAM (@932220SG) July 6, 2022 He was hot and undisturbed on vacation in Jeju Island. The eldest shared a topless pic on Instagram to show fans his BTS friendship tattoo - they've mostly gotten them all so far - but IMO it was really a thirst trap.


Jaden Hardy shines in NBA Summer League debut

Jaden Hardy scored 28 points in his NBA Summer League debut. We take a closer look at the Dallas Mavericks rookie's performance. (Author: Gardener)

Jaden HardyLAS VEGAS — In his NBA Summer League debut, Dallas Mavericks guard Jaden Hardy finished with 28 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes against the Chicago Bulls. His .75 point per possession performance on halfcourt includes shot counts of 5-14 (35.7 percent) from the ground and six turnovers. In an environment like the NBA Summer League, you want to see players showing dynamic potential in key areas. Hardy was considered an elite contender before his stocks plummeted with the G-League Ignite, making him an intriguing player to focus on throughout the Summer Mavericks roster. If a player dons a Mavericks jersey this decade, they're likely to play mostly off the basketball unless they're wearing the No. 77. The ability to lead the catch is a key attribute to match . Even without that superstar teammate on court, Hardy made a legitimate impact from the spot-up. He was already known to be able to take down catch-and-shoot jumpers with a high clip considering he did just that with the G-League Ignite. It was fascinating to see additional layers e.g. B. resetting while driving. Hardy had a nice possession where he decided to shake himself out of the corner and attack into the open space in the center of the floor. The first step before dribbling between the legs got the ball-carrying defender committed to containing a baseline drive that never happened. Hardy created an advantage to get deep in the drive and pulled the foul. The shooting ability Hardy possesses was shown on a 3-point corner, which he had despite having an imprecise pass that resulted in a low, wide catch. The defender was able to put up a closer fight due to the pass, but Hardy knocked him down anyway. Doncic does an excellent job of hitting the lads in large numbers on his ball turns, but again being able to hit hard is important. While Hardy certainly struggled overall in half place, he was very efficient in transitional situations. He was performing at 1.5 points per possession, which helped increase the efficiency of his overall performance. What impressed Hardy most in these situations was that he wasn't just getting run outs for easy finishes. He looked for opportunities to attack at half-shift times, even finishing through contact when the situation called for it. Finishing at the edge was a weakness during his season with the G-League Ignite, so that's a positive. The Summer Bulls are best equipped for near-level ball protection coverage with their foot speed, but don't have much for a weak shot-blocking presence. It was important for Hardy to seize opportunities to aggressively attack the rim when the defense wasn't standing. When it comes to the NBA Summer League, it's crucial to break the fuzz and focus on areas that actually translate to regular basketball in a player's typical role. For each guard in possession of the ball, he must be able to peck high and roll. With the departure of Jalen Brunson, the Mavericks need more talent outside of Luka to step up and score in the pick-and-roll. There wasn't a player last season who was more efficient at even medium possession than Brunson, so that's a real gap to fill. Seeing Hardy execute will be important as a potential third Guardian. In his opening game of the NBA Summer League, Hardy averaged a rough .571 points per possession in seven high-ball screens against the Bulls. For example, some of his ball sieves came with 6-foot-7 Justin Gorham as the winner, whom the defense rightly disregarded as a threat. With the big Bulls often playing close to the screen and having foot speed to contain them, it wasn't an easy matchup. Hardy's first possession of the game was a prime example of the challenges of facing the Summer Bulls defense. Hardy attacked the baseline from a left side pick and roll that left the screener wide open on the pop and both ball screen defenders engaged Hardy on the drive. He got stuck at the baseline with the low-man in position to take the pass away to the corner, resulting in a turnover. Against a more traditional ball screen cover, with Simonovic not playing near par and recovering to rim roll, Hardy was able to get wide into a pull-up 3-pointer. The defender on the ball couldn't recover in time to get a close fight. Not least because of this, the Bulls decided to play consistently at eye level in the crucial moments of the second half. On the pull-up Hardy attempted near the nail, Gorham failed to make contact with the defender on the ball and slammed. The defense alternated this sequence with Makur Maker as the big defender. As a result, Hardy killed his dribbling near the nail while the tall defender was in position to deny his pull-up jumper hard. During another possession with Gorham as a screener, Hardy received an aggressive near-elbow stunt and had the full attack of the tall defender. The end result was that Hardy was blocked deep on the ride on a left finish attempt. He may need to open the strong side's corner earlier after navigating the stunt forward. The Summer Bulls have plenty of foot speed to contain ball filters and that has often been a problem for the Mavericks offense. The Bulls' tall defender Marko Simonovic intervened near the screen, rounding out Hardy's attack for a tack switch. Possession, where Hardy decided to turn down ball protection, was an intriguing decision. Bulls tall defender Simonovic was willing to engage at the screen level if Hardy had used the screen. The denial at least provided an opportunity to bring the momentum to the rim to draw a foul on a contest. Again, it's really impressive how defensively the Summer Bulls played in covering the ball. They have the quickness to take away from teams the advantages they face when competing against drop coverage by instead playing close to the screen level. For disciplined stunts near the elbow, it limits the ball handler's options. Hardy made commendable reading late in overtime that forcing the tall defender to move his hips and recover might be a better option than just going straight into a drive from the ball screen and snaking the screen around to get into the gap. By moving the ball screen farther from the 3-point line, he tried to get the extra space for that purpose. Instead, his screener put up a backscreen and the game blew up, ending in a turnover. Speaking of not having much synergy with the screener, Hardy had a turnover earlier in the game because the ball went off the screener's foot. There's not much talent for him to work with on pick-and-roll actions that demand the respect of the defense. Against teams with faster big defenders in the NBA Summer League, he must extend his ball screens farther from the 3-point line until he has regular NBA personnel. Credit to the Bulls for doing a great job guarding Hardy out in space. Most possessions featured a highly technical, disciplined approach by the on-ball defender. Hardy was often unable to pull a reaction from the on-ball defender to gain an advantage. Dalen Terry showed why he's one of the most underrated fullbacks in this year's draft class when he guarded Hardy on possession from below. Terry didn't change the ball umbrella, expecting Hardy to get to the stepback on his left before even getting into his shooting process, resulting in the block. When Hardy pulled Malcolm Hill on a switch after a handoff from the corner, he tried to gain an advantage with a hesitant dribbling. Hill outplayed Hardy and chased him into a two-dribble deep stoppage. After Hardy went on to a spin move as a counter, Hill expected the right hand floater to come and made a close fight. On the clutch time trial that ended with Hardy flipping it, the Bulls were very solid defensively as a unit. Hardy got Hill to respond to his hesitant left-hand dribbling, which set up a left-right crossover to attack the suit. Hill recovered deep on the drive and ripped the ball loose. In a tie game with final possession usually, Hardy had the ball in his hands to make a heroic play. Hill knew he wouldn't have a backup in position to help if Hardy won at attack and drove to the right. As a result, Hill preferred to take his chances with Hardy taking a step back to the left. Given the limitations of the Summer Mavericks' high-ball screen offense, there were understandably better flashes of Hardy's potential when he was involved in halffield actions that started with the ball. It's challenging on defense to charge versus a high ball screen. After a "Chicago" action, Hardy had an easier time getting deep in the drive because the big defender had to respect the big after the handover and there's no stunt to force an early pickup of the dribble. He pulled a foul with the defender on the ball, who hacked him inside on recovery against the scoop finish attempt. Hardy thrived on a 'Miami' action because the tall defender is once again put in a vulnerable position if he gets too involved with the ball. This is another half-court action that makes it difficult for the defense to pull off an effective stunt since it's much easier to load a pass away on high pick-and-roll. Another positive possession from Hardy occurred when he started possession in part of their five-out streak "Wide." Instead of running a regular double-width pindown game, the game evolves for Hardy to have a step-up screen. With room to work, he attacked with a right-to-left crossover to get into open space, finishing with a step back at the elbow. The Mavericks used Hardy as a ghost screener on a hold and he took advantage. The two ball screen defenders chose not to change order and Hardy took advantage, using a pause on the catch to force the flyby. He drove into the middle of open space, but there was a problem: with A.J. Lawson having no clearance, a backup defender stayed in place at the top of the attacking circle. Hardy still pulled a foul in the end.


USMNT broadcast news, live! Latest reports, rumours, updates

USMNT transfer news: With the 2022 World Cup just five months away, the summer transfer window looks set to be a busy time for some USMNT stars (Author: Gardener)

USMNTUSMNT transfer news: With the 2022 World Cup just five months away from kickoff in Qatar, the summer transfer window looks set to be a busy time for some USMNT stars. [ VIDEO: Transfer Chat: USMNT Players Possibly Out This Summer ] There's Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, both of whom could be out in search of regular playing time. Elsewhere, Brenden Aaronson has already completed a Premier League transfer this summer. There's also John Brooks who simply needs a club willing to sign him. It's time for a final nudge to secure a starting/squad place in Qatar and for some the first step could be finding a new clubhouse first. Below we round up the latest completed deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on Arsenal transfer news as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) guide you through the hectic months ahead . Brenden Aaronson - Red Bull Salzburg to Leeds United ($30m) - MORE Tyler Adams - RB Leipzig to Leeds United ($24m) - MORE Matt Turner - New England Revolution to Arsenal ($10.2m) Dollars) - MORE Jordan Pefok - BSC Young Boys to Union Berlin ($6.2m) - MORE Midfielder Luca de la Torre, who enjoyed a strong international window in June and got firmly involved in the 2022 World Cup squad, will join La Liga club Celta Vigo. The 24-year-old made 32 (of 34) league appearances in each of his two seasons in the Netherlands, with his subsequent USMNT performances seemingly sealing the deal for Celta Vigo. Tyler Adams has completed his move to Leeds United as a deal worth over $24m has been agreed for the USMNT midfielder to join from RB Leipzig. Adams, 23, is being touted as Kalvin Phillips' replacement (the England international joined Manchester City for $54.7million) but anyone who has watched both Adams and Phillips play will know they are very different players . Leeds have basically replaced Phillips with Adams and Marc Roca. It looks like Gabriel Slonina, 18, will not join Chelsea. According to the London Evening Standard, a deal for Slonina to go to Stamford Bridge has been stopped. Real Madrid and Wolves have also been linked with a move for the Chicago Fire product, which was close to joining Chelsea in January before sanctions were imposed on the club and several key people on the recruitment side have since left. His future is definitely in Europe but it looks like he won't sign for Chelsea. While Leeds pressure on Tyler Adams appears to be increasing, another Premier League club has entered the race. Adams is also wanted by Everton, according to a report by The Daily Mail. However, Fabrizio Romano has now claimed Leeds have sealed the deal for Adams and everything is signed with a transfer fee of $24million. Tyler Adams deal made and sealed. That means if nothing changes in the coming weeks, Leeds will not bid for RB Salzburg midfielder Mo Camara, despite rumours. Main target has always been Tyler Adams along with Marc Roca... and he's moving to Leeds now, here we go. The 23-year-old is expected to leave Leipzig this summer and it's believed he was keen on going to the Premier League to play for his former boss Jesse Marsch. Adams is believed to be key to a revamped midfield for the Yorkshire club as they look to replace Kalvin Phillips, who has signed for Manchester City. It looks like Leeds will replace Phillips with a combination of Adams and Marc Roca as the latter has already arrived and combines very well with Adams. Which club is the best match for Adams? Frank Lampard likes to play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation and Adams would be perfect as one of the central midfielders in that formation. Yes, his close connection to Marsch (who coached him in New York and Leipzig) is key when it comes to a potential move to Leeds, but would a more possession-based style suit him better than Leeds' tactics? Tyler Adams will provide Leeds with the defensive solidity their central midfielders need and USMNT fans can be pretty sure he'll play more minutes if he joins them than if he stayed at Leipzig. Christian Pulisic has a big summer ahead as the USMNT star will think long and hard about his future at club level. The latest report on his situation comes from The Daily Mail as they say Christian Pulisic wants to stay at Chelsea despite Juventus' interest in him. This follows a report on his future from The Daily Telegraph, which said Chelsea have offered Juventus one of Pulisic and Timo Werner, as well as cash for Matthijs de Ligt. Of course, USMNT fans are hoping that whatever happens with Christian Pulisic at Chelsea will be for the best for the US ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It's a very difficult decision for Pulisic as he could stay at Chelsea but move down the pecking order behind Raheem Sterling and other potential signings. It's really a 50/50 decision for the American star and also depends heavily on whether or not Thomas Tuchel plans to give him a major role this season. The Athletic say Tyler Adams' potential move from Leeds could now be a loan move, while others say it could be a permanent deal as talks of a possible $15.6million move rage on have started. Given Adams may not be a regular at RB Leipzig this season, moving to the Premier League to play for Jesse Marsch is a no-brainer. Adams played for Marsch at the New York Red Bulls and Leipzig and is a solid, reliable central midfielder who would fit in well at Leeds. The Yorkshire club are evaluating numerous options to replace the outgoing Kalvin Phillips and signing several players in various midfield roles appears to be what they are planning. If he excels at Leeds he will likely want to stay and that means they have been successful under Marsch and he will be playing for a manager who trusts him. If it doesn't work out, he could return to Leipzig and he could be back in favor and back in the Champions League before you know it. Key for Adams and all key men of the USMNT through November plays regularly. He'll probably get more minutes at Leeds than at Leipzig so that would be a good move. USMNT goaltender Ethan Horvath was in dire need of a loan move and has ended up in the Championship at Luton Town for the 2022-23 season. Horvath was second choice as Nottingham Forest were promoted to the Premier League last season and after Forest had Dean Henderson on loan for the 2022-23 season Horvath would not get many minutes. So he signed for Luton, who made the playoffs but missed out on promotion to the PL last season. How does this affect the USMNT goalie depth chart ahead of the 2022 World Cup? With Zack Steffen likely to be loaned out to Championship side Middlesbrough in the coming days, both he and Horvath will have plenty of games up until November when the USMNT travel to Qatar for the World Cup. That leaves Matt Turner at Arsenal as Aaron Ramsdale's backup and a lack of regular minutes could pose a problem for Turner if he wants to start for Gregg Berhalter. For Horvath, the move is about a final push to become third-choice goalkeeper as he battles hard with Sean Johnson for that spot. Steffen and Turner are the clear front runners when it comes to starting in goal for the USMNT at the World Championships, but there is very little between Horvath and Johnson for the third choice jersey. We're delighted to announce the signing of USA international goalkeeper Ethan Horvath for a season from Nottingham Forest! Ian Harkes remains at Dundee United for at least one more season as the 27-year-old gets a chance to test himself in the Europa Conference League. S. The U-20 midfielder has become a fixture in Scotland since joining from DC United. He scored three goals and added three assists in league play last season. He started every game in which he was fully fit as United finished fourth behind Celtic, Rangers and Hearts. In all, he has made 131 appearances for United, taking the club from the Scottish Championship to the top flight and now to Europe. Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie teammates for club and country? Chelsea have been linked with many strikers under new owner Todd Boehly and the American businessman could authorize the departure of one of the country's top exports to bring in Thomas Tuchel as main defender. It's very easy to see the 23-year-old succeeding in Serie A and the deal would make sense on a number of levels; Keeping Pulisic in the Champions League and chasing titles is tremendous and teaming him up with his best friend McKennie to keep building towards Qatar doesn't hurt. It always seemed like Jordan Pefok would make a move from the Young Boys after a successful goalscoring season in Switzerland that included goals in the Champions League group stages against Manchester United and Atalanta. A report from Germany says Pefok, 26, is signing for Union Berlin to replace Nigerian star Taiwo Awoniyi, the former Liverpool candidate who recently signed for Nottingham Forest. Pefok scored 22 goals in Switzerland last season and would now join a team that competed in the UEFA Europa Conference League and is now playing in the Europa League. It's a great move for Pefok and will only raise his profile as he looks to overcome an erratic performance for the USMNT in World Cup qualifiers to claim a squad spot for Qatar. Zack Steffen will be primed for the USMNT's World Cup round with a loan game in Middlesbrough, according to's Graeme Bailey and Tom Gott. Steffen, 27, has made 21 appearances for Man City over the past two seasons, his third on the Premier League champions' books. He joined City in 2019 from Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew and immediately went to Fortuna Düsseldorf in the Bundesliga. The 29-time national player Steffen is fighting for the USMNT goalkeeper at the Winter World Cup in Qatar. With Matt Turner joining Arsenal to presumably play behind Aaron Ramsdale, the No 1 shirt at Middlesbrough means plenty of playing time to stay in the hunt. Steffen would join a goalie corps with Luke Daniels and Brad James. A report from the Yorkshire Evening Post claims that Leeds are looking to sign Tyler Adams to replace Kalvin Phillips and the USMNT star is "high" on their list of potential newcomers. According to the report, Jesse Marsch is keen to sign Adams (whom he coached at the New York Red Bulls and RB Leipzig) and another central midfielder from one of his former clubs, RB Salzburg's Mohamed Camara. Maybe we should just rename them RB Leeds... Anyway, the Adams link is perhaps the most obvious transfer in Premier League history. Marsch promoted 23-year-old Adams in his early years at RBNY and is a big fan of the New Jersey native, who can play in midfield but also down the right flank. Replacing Phillips (he is expected to sign for Man City for $55m this week) will be very difficult, but if Leeds bring in Adams and Camara they can share the burden and Leeds need more squad depth as they last season were plagued by injuries. Focusing specifically on Adams, would that be a good move for the young American? He doesn't appear to be a regular at RB Leipzig under Domenico Tedesco so he'll need to move somewhere this summer if he wants regular minutes. Adams seems a good fit for this Leeds side, although he doesn't have the passing ability of Phillips and is a very different player. Tyler Adams brings calmness on and off the ball and his positional and tactical awareness is very good. In addition, Marsch has already been trained at two different clubs, and that fits very well. Adams might want to move to a club in Europe but Leeds are a huge club and there is potential to be part of a squad that can push for the top 10 (at least) and a cup run this season. Premier League physicality shouldn't be too much of an issue as Adams can sit in one of the midfield positions and keep things rolling. USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner has completed his move to Arsenal and is in north London to settle in at his new club. It will be a long time before Turner usurps Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal's starting goalkeeper, but he should be getting plenty of minutes in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League this season. S. is on a preseason tour and he should play many minutes for the Gunners while he gets to know his new teammates and coaches and continues to settle in. Germany goalkeeper Stefan Ortega could become Manchester City's No. 2 goalkeeper if Zack Steffen finds a transfer target to his liking, according to Sky Sports. 1 shirt this summer as Ederson is unlikely to lose his at Man City anytime soon and the USMNT backstop is locked in a battle with Matt Turner to start at the 2022 World Cup. The 27-year-old American cost City around $7 million to $8 million on his second trip abroad in 2019. He was previously on the books with Freiburg and Columbus Crew and played on loan from City to Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 2019/20 season (although Fortuna were relegated). Steffen signed a contract extension through the 2024/25 season and Guardiola backed the USMNT man after a tough FA Cup semi-final. Manchester City are keen to sign Stefan Ortega, as revealed by @Sky_Dirk today. The deal depends on Zack Steffen to find a good solution in the market, but Ortega awaits City. According to a report by Sky Sports in Germany, Leeds are considering bringing Tyler Adams to Elland Road alongside USMNT star Brenden Aaronson (signed earlier this summer) to play under American head coach (and former USMNT midfielder himself) Jesse Marsch to play. Adams, of course, recently played for Marsch during his brief stint as RB Leipzig coach last season, but they go back even further as it was Marsch who made a then 17-year-old Adams' professional debut in Summer 2015 with the New York Reds bulls Adams has two years left on his Leipzig contract and Domenico Tedesco has made it clear Adams does not fit the mold of what he is looking for in defensive midfield. It remains in the best interest of everyone involved (including the USMNT) that Adams leaves Leipzig this summer and settles into a new long-term home. The rumors linking Adams to a Marsch reunion are unlikely to stop anytime soon. News Tyler Adams: Despite the move of Aaronson and Roca, the Leipzig midfielder is confirmed - alongside other players - on the #LUFC shortlist. Leipzig wants to sell him. [ MORE: Chelsea set to listen to bids for Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech ] Thomas Tuchel is set to redesign Chelsea's defense this summer but the attack could also see a personnel shift as the Blues are reportedly ready, according to The Telegraph to listen to offers for Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic. The American wants to play on the left wing and he's been used in everything from the wrong nine to right-back at Chelsea. When it comes to playing in the Premier League, Mason Mount was the only attacker to record more than 2,000 minutes for Chelsea last season. Another USMNT attacker heads to the Premier League this summer as Brenden Aaronson has agreed to a $30m transfer to Leeds United. The $30m transfer fee bringing Brenden Aaronson from Salzburg to Leeds is only behind Christian Pulisic's $73m switch from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea in the summer of 2019 (although it pales in comparison).


A look at Novak Djokovic's chaotic 2022 season after clinching another Wimbledon title

Novak Djokovic completed his Wimbledon title defense on Sunday - something that seemed impossible earlier this year. Here's a timeline of the events of Djokovic's turbulent season. (Author: Gardener)

WimbledonAfter a turbulent start to the 2022 season, Novak Djokovic won his first and perhaps only major title of the year at Wimbledon on Sunday. With his status for the US Open still in doubt due to pandemic-related travel restrictions to the United States, and with a disappointing - by his standards - result at the French Open with a quarter-final loss, Djokovic's season could very well be defined by his victorious performance in the finals against Nick Kyrgios, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3). At the start of the year, it was largely uncertain how much he might play due to his very public unvaccinated status. Djokovic, 35, arrived at the Australian Open in January and quickly found himself at the center of a global media storm and legal battle. Ultimately, his visa was revoked by the Australian government and he was deported before the game started. He then watched as Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam title record was broken in Melbourne, and in February he was temporarily ousted at the top of the rankings by Daniil Medvedev. Prior to April, Djokovic had only competed in one tournament (a quarterfinal round in Dubai). But he was able to compete in four tournaments during the European clay-court swing that led to the French Open and won his first title of the year in Rome. Ultimately failing to defend his title in Paris saw him fall back down the rankings again – this time to 3rd place. Djokovic opted to skip the grass events leading up to Wimbledon but mostly showed throughout his time at the All England Club best shape . Despite Sunday's win - his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and seventh overall - Djokovic will drop to 7th in the rankings after Wimbledon as the ATP does not award points for the tournament due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players. Here's a refresher on everything that led to Djokovic's current situation. Djokovic wins his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and seventh overall title by beating Kyrgios. After dropping the opening set, Djokovic found out about Kyrgios' powerful serve and stayed on course despite his opponent's continued antics over the net. Djokovic claimed the win in a tiebreak in the fourth set, eventually throwing up his hands in triumph and heaving a sigh of relief. "Obviously I'm over the moon with joy and happiness to relive that moment," Djokovic later told reporters. "I've said it many times, this tournament is very special for me because it was the first tournament I ever saw as a kid that made me want to start playing tennis. July 8, 2022: Djokovic returns back to tennis Wimbledon final After a flat start in which he lost the first set to local favorite Cameron Norrie, who had the crowd very much on his side, Djokovic found his level - and dominated the rest. He will now be in his playing 32nd Major final - most ever by a male player and tied for third most all time, equal to Martina Navratilova and only behind Chris Evert (34) and Serena Williams (33) Djokovic seemed happy with the performance but did No. I don't hesitate to make at least one prediction about Friday's upcoming clash with Kyrgios on the pitch: "One thing is for sure, there will be emotional fireworks from both of us," said Djokovic 022: Djokovic advances to semifinals at All England Club Djokovic lost the first two sets t o Jannik Sinner in his quarterfinal match at Wimbledon before finding a way to settle for the 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 , 6-2 win on Center Court to collect. "I always believed that I could turn the match around," said Djokovic at the end. The win secured his 11th place in the semi-finals at the All England Club and set up the clash with Norrie. May 31, 2022: Djokovic falls to Nadal at Roland Garros After not dropping a set en route to the quarterfinals at the French Open, Djokovic fell with Nadal in a late night duel that lasted over four hours. It was a 2021 revenge match where Djokovic defeated Nadal in the semifinals at the tournament and went on to win the Roland Garros title. "To win against Novak there is only one way," Nadal said after the match. Nadal eventually lifted the trophy for his 22nd Major title, extending his lead over Djokovic and Federer, who remain in 20th place. Djokovic's ranking fell to 3rd place at the end of the tournament behind Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. May 15, 2022: Djokovic wins his first title of 2022 at the Italian Open Djokovic proved he had rediscovered his form on clay with a dominant performance in Rome as he defeated top 10 players Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated on his way to the final. Then he held back – No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6 (5) in a repeat of the 2021 French Open title fight. Djokovic hasn't dropped a set all week. He later told reporters he was happy his clay preparation led to the second major of the year. "I really couldn't ask for better preparation for Roland Garros," said Djokovic. "Serbian Open final, I really worked my way through the tournament physically. April 24, 2022: Djokovic reaches his first final of the year. Djokovic played in front of an enthusiastic crowd in his hometown of Belgrade at the Serbia Open and reached his first final since Paris Masters in November Djokovic lost the opening set in all three of his wins en route to title shots, repeating the same in the final but despite a forced decision and clear home advantage, Djokovic seemed to have nothing left in the final set, losing to Andrey Rublev with 6-2 6-7(4) 6-0. Playing in his first tournament since Dubai in February and only his second event of the year, Djokovic lost three sets in his opening game in Monte Carlo to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, then the World number 46. Djokovic later told reporters that he "ran out of gas" in the third set Obviously disappointing to lose a match Despite being unable to play at Indian Wells, Djokovic reclaimed the world rankings after Medvedev lost to Gael Monfils in the third round of the tournament. Medvedev's reign at the top of the rankings lasted only three weeks. You know, I think it's still better to at least touch it," Medvedev said after losing to Monfils. March 9, 2022: Djokovic announces he's eliminated from the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open. Djokovic has tweeted that he would not be playing in Indian Wells or in Miami due to current vaccination regulations required to enter the United States: Good luck to those attending these great tournaments understood from the start that Novak's participation in the Miami Open was pivotal in his entry into the United States, which we knew would be a long road," said James Blake, Tournament Director of the Miami Open. March 1, 2022: Djokovic reveals he no longer works with longtime coach In a post on his website, Djokovic revealed that after 15 years and 20 major titles together, he and Marian Vajda "had agreed to end their partnership", Djokovic said , the decision was made after the ATP Finals 2021 in November."Marian has been by my side in the most important and memorable moments of my career,” Djokovic said in the statement. Djokovic later shared a similar message on his Instagram account. 28.02. 2022: Djokovic falls to No. 2 in ATP rankings Djokovic was replaced by Daniil Medvedev after his quarter-final loss at the Dubai Championships His last stint at the top began on February 3, 2020, and Djokovic's 361 total weeks there is the most for a man since the Tour's computerized rankings began in 1973. February 21, 2022: Djokovic wins his first match of the Djokovic defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 to open the Dubai Championships. "I have to be happy with my tennis, especially after not playing for two and a half, three months," Djokovic said on court. Feb 15, 2022: Djokovic says he will unsubscribe from future Grand Slams with vaccination orders. In his first interview after being deported from Australia, Djokovic reiterated his stance on not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and said he would no longer play majors that would require him to be vaccinated. Three federal court judges upheld an earlier decision by the immigration minister to revoke the visa for the 34-year-old Serb on grounds of public interest. After being held at the airport for about eight hours upon arrival, the 20-time Major winner is refused entry to the country and has his visa annulled. The Australian Border Force says Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements. According to Health Secretary Greg Hunt, the visa cancellation followed a review of Djokovic's TUE - designed to protect him from the stringent COVID-19 vaccination requirements in force - by border officials who "looked at the integrity and the evidence behind it". Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted: "Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders." Mr Djokovic's visa has been annulled. Our strict border policy has been instrumental in Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we say remain vigilant - Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 5, 2022 The tennis star is taken to a hotel in Carlton, a north Melbourne suburb, where he is staying for four nights Djokovic's wife Jelena takes to Twitter to share her thoughts on the situation 🙏— Jelena Djokovic (@jelenadjokovic) January 7, 2022 January 4, 2022: Djokovic announces he's going Down Under on Therapeutic Exemption Djokovic reveals he'll compete in the inaugural Grand Slam event of the tennis season after receiving a medical exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 He releases a photo o of herself at an airport on Instagram with a caption that reads, in part, "I'm going down under with a special permit." Tennis Australia follows with a statement confirming that Djokovic is en route to the country with a Therapeutic Use Exemption which was "granted following a rigorous review process involving two independent panels of medical experts". Neither Djokovic nor Tennis Australia reveal the basis for his release. Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley says a "handful" of exceptions have been granted from 26 requests from players or others. Days before the start of the competition in Sydney, Djokovic withdraws from the Serbian team for the ATP Cup. No reason is given. "Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney, we do not yet have an update on his plans for the Australian Open," a Tennis Australia spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. According to court documents, Djokovic tests negative for COVID-19 in Serbia. Dec 18, 2021: Djokovic does interview and photoshoot for L'Equipe Knowing he has tested positive, Djokovic does an interview and photoshoot with French newspaper L'Equipe. The nine-time Australian Open champion attends an event honoring youth tennis players in Belgrade, Serbia. Parents post photos on social media showing Djokovic and the young players without masks. Djokovic later says he was asymptomatic, took an antigen test before the event which showed it was negative and only got a positive PCR result after the event. Djokovic will test positive for COVID-19 in Serbia, although this will not be public knowledge until court documents reveal it in January. He later says he didn't know the result until December 17. The tennis star takes part in a professional basketball match in Belgrade, Serbia. He is photographed hugging several players from both teams, including some who later tested positive for COVID-19. June 2020: Adria Tour is cancelled, Djokovic gets COVID-19 contract Djokovic announces that he and his wife Jelena have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a series of exhibition matches he played in Serbia and Croatia without social contacts had organized distance or mask duty in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Adria Tour is canceled as Djokovic becomes the fourth player to test positive for the disease after attending the games in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia.


Chris Jericho doesn't think Vince McMahon will get in 'real trouble' over alleged affair and hush money

Chris Jericho comments on Vince McMahon's allegations. (Author: Gardener)

Chris JerichoOn June 15, The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE Board of Directors is investigating a secret $3 million agreement that Vince McMahon reportedly agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he was allegedly having an affair. On July 8, The Wall Street Journal followed with a report saying McMahon "agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to quash allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity." The payouts reportedly went to four women previously associated with WWE. Chris Jericho worked at WWE from 1999 to 2018 and worked closely with McMahon throughout his run as he held the World Championship and was involved in feuds with members of the McMahon family. Speaking on the True Geordie podcast, Jericho was asked about the allegations against McMahon in an interview that appeared to have been recorded before the July 8 Wall Street Journal report was released. "Not really," Jericho said, surprised by the accusations. If you look at it, it's really not illegal. He had an affair, paid the lady not to say anything, and moved on. Oh, it's just wrestling.” If you watch, that story came out with a bang, and then you really haven't heard from it since. If this was Hollywood, with Harvey Weinstein, something like that... the difference between that is he was holding women back to get gigs, Harvey Weinstein. "Either bang me or you don't get the lead." That's never been said in Vince's case. It was a mutual admission of the affair, he paid the lady not to say anything and she took the money. I know Vince really well and it sucks that this happened, it sucks that he did it, but will it really come to anything? The July 8 Wall Street Journal report said that one of the settlements allegedly "included a $7.5 million pact with a former wrestler who claimed Mr. McMahon forced her to perform oral sex on him , and then demoted her and ultimately refused to renew her contract in 2005 after resisting further sexual encounters." The wrestler and her attorney reportedly reached out to Mr McMahon in 2018 and negotiated payment in exchange for her silence. McMahon appeared several times on WWE television after the June 15 report was released, to which Jericho said, "This is Vince McMahon. I think it's going to come and go. Is it morally right? Is it illegal? , it is." just Vince McMahon it's just wrestling obviously he'll do that these things come and go they happen it's a shame but I really don't think it matters in the long run six months from now e I'm either right or I'm wrong. Since the second WSJ report was released, Netflix has reportedly removed the Vince McMahon docuseries from its roster. Jericho will face off against Eddie Kingston in a Barbed Wire Deathmatch on the July 20th episode of AEW Dynamite.


WWE's Vince McMahon paid a total of $12 million to 4 women to quash allegations of sexual misconduct

(Author: Gardener)

WWEVince McMahon, the longtime leader of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), allegedly paid millions of dollars in hush money to a former wrestler with whom he had a forced sexual relationship and who was allegedly not brought back to WWE after she rejected further sexual advances from the executive . That's according to a report published in the Wall Street Journal on Friday. McMahon reportedly paid out $7.5 million to the former wrestler, who claimed McMahon forced her to give him oral sex, downgraded her, and then decided not to renew her contract in 2005 after resisting further sexual encounters with him , according to the Journal report. The wrestler and her attorney reportedly negotiated a non-disclosure agreement with McMahon in 2018. The Journal's report cites a total of $12 million allegedly paid to four women over the past 16 years to quash allegations of sexual misconduct by 76-year-old McMahon. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE Board of Directors is investigating a secret $3 million payout by McMahon to a former employee, a paralegal, over an alleged affair. Following that news, WWE announced that McMahon would be stepping down from his duties as chairman and CEO -- since replaced by his daughter Stephanie -- although he would retain his role as head of creative. Sources told ESPN at the time that this was largely a visual game and McMahon was still running the company alongside WWE President Nick Khan. In Friday's new report, the Journal, citing documents and people familiar with the business, said McMahon paid the former wrestler $7.5 million for her silence. Additionally, McMahon allegedly sent unsolicited nude photos of himself to a WWE contractor and sexually harassed her at work, leading to a roughly $1 million non-disclosure agreement in 2008. In a 2006 agreement, a former WWE executive was paid $1 million to keep quiet about McMahon entering into a sexual relationship with her. The WWE Board of Directors is continuing its investigation, which includes allegations that WWE manager John Laurinaitis had a sexual relationship with the same former paralegal involved in the alleged $3 million payment, according to the Journal. Laurinaitis is also under investigation over an alleged $1.5 million non-disclosure agreement with an employee alleging sexual misconduct in 2012. The company takes the allegations seriously. On June 27, two weeks after The Wall Street Journal's initial report, New York Magazine ran a story featuring interviews with former WWE referee Rita Chatterton and former WWE wrestler Leonard Inzitari, alleging that McMahon had Chatterton sexually assaulted in 1986. McMahon has been in the public eye more than usual since the first Journal report on June 15. A day after its release and hours after it was announced that he would be stepping down from his duties as CEO and Chairman, McMahon surfaced on WWE's "SmackDown" programming. Three days later, he appeared on WWE Raw. And last Saturday, McMahon was in attendance at UFC 276 in Las Vegas, a rare public appearance outside of WWE for pro wrestling's most influential man.


'Love and Thunder' Star Tessa Thompson Talks the Funny Moment She Fighted For and the Freedom of 'Creed III'

Thor: Love and Thunder star Tessa Thompson reflects on shadowing Taika Waititi in post-production and collaborating with Christian Bale. (Author: Gardener)

LoveTessa Thompson's Valkyrie might not be thrilled with the added responsibilities of being King of Asgard in Thor: Love and Thunder, but the actress feels just the opposite about her relatively new title as producer. Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi knew Thompson wanted to learn more about the production process and invited her to participate in the post-production of his follow-up Thor: Ragnarok. And while watching an early cut, Thompson even struggled to capture a brief moment with "Val" and two actor characters, played by Matt Damon and Luke Hemsworth. "There was a cut where that part went away and I was so sad, but then it came back and I was so happy. I was like, 'This has to be in the movie!'" Thompson tells The Hollywood Reporter. Thompson also talks about her recent experience with Creed III and how the dynamic between her and Michael B. Jordan hasn't changed all that much despite him serving as director. Much like Waititi, Jordan welcomed Thompson's feedback as they continued to develop the story and her character, Bianca. "In the past, it was a lot of work to make sure she had agency and arc, essentially in the context of these sports movies," says Thompson. And I usually do that work with the writers... but this time I might do that work more actively with Mike. In 2018, Thompson helmed Nia DaCosta's directorial debut, Little Woods, which centers on Thompson's Ollie and Lily James' Deb as the latter searches for safe reproductive care in a rural town where it's illegal. Wade in late June, Thompson and DaCosta can't help but feel dismayed as they look forward to their next collaboration. (She remains mom when Valkyrie appears in DaCosta's The Marvels or when the next collaboration comes in the filmmaker's recently announced Hedda Gabler for Orion and Plan B.) "We did something [Little Woods] that felt like the worst at the time case-case scenario for a young woman in this country,” Thompson recalls. "And now it's like, 'Man, we've only scratched the surface of the worst-case scenario.' We're living in the worst-case scenario now." and the day-night difference between the set of Love and Thunder and their last mess together at Alex Garland's Annihilation. Then she clears up some common misconceptions about how Christian Bale and Ed Harris work. How does it feel to be the newest spokesperson for Old Spice? (Laughs) It's actually a pleasure and an honor. And so I remember being a little girl and using his Old Spice. (Laughs) I've always loved the smell, and since I used it when I was too young to need deodorant, I remember how it made me feel like an adult. It also reminded me of my grandfather, so I've always had a fondness for Old Spice. Did she dabble in musicals during her time on New Asgard? She went into musical theater. So she spent some time outside of New Asgard on a political tour I assume. So she probably had a few days in New York where she saw theater and fell in love with it. Although Val is very well dressed as the king of Asgard, she does not enjoy the role of king, and during her reign New Asgard has morphed into something of a tourist destination. Yes, that's an interesting thing. That was the Valkyrie in a way. So I think she enjoys that aspect of representing her people, but I don't think she anticipated how bureaucratic it would be, which is probably why Thor passed the buck and gave her the job. And to be honest, I don't think it would have been quite as bureaucratic if their new home hadn't become, as you said, such a tourist destination. When you love what you do you're so happy to do it on a bigger scale, but a bigger scale always leads to little things that you didn't have to put up with when you would have done it on a smaller scale a little bit more too your own terms. Since you had to travel across the world (Australia) to shoot this film, what was your main must-do? That's actually a great question because when I went to Australia we still had to quarantine for two weeks. So they ran such a well oiled machine, and Marvel was generous enough to provide me with whatever I needed, especially since I came in Valkyrie form. It's embarrassing, but it's true. So you mentioned that Gorr the God Butcher was pretty intimidating on set, but how much of that was just the Christian Bale of it all? (laughs) You know what, he was just intimidating between action and editing because Christian is really lovable and easygoing. With someone as fine and amazing an actor as he is, there's a collective feeling where everyone's like, 'Alright, let's get our shit together. Christian Bale is coming.” But he's so beautiful. He would check on me every time they cut and sometimes before they cut he would just be so insistent to make sure I was comfortable and okay. And between takes when [Gorr] was emotionally intimidating, Christian was also so polite and nice to me about my work. So I wouldn't say I was surprised because I didn't really know what to expect, but he's just incredibly generous. He also has a fantastic ability to go from being so present and talkative and characterless to being totally immersed in it. Some people might think that he would be inclined to stay in it all the time, but the truth is that he didn't. That's how he gets to know you in a really real way between takes. Was a Taika Waititi set with Natalie Portman significantly different than Alex Garland's Annihilation set with Natalie Portman? (laughs) Yes, really different. Natalie and I talked about this yesterday. With every project, the energy of the script is embedded in the experience of filmmaking, so Annihilation was really weird. And so it was a pleasure doing this film and getting to know Natalie. So there was a weird energy about that set because the movie wanted or needed that. At Taika, he goes to great lengths to make his sets feel really fun, whether it's music or improvisation. And all the kids were on set the whole time, so it was just a really joyful experience. Natalie and I are friends outside of work, so it was nice to have a very different filmmaking experience with her. Midway through the film, Korg comments on how Val routinely numbs the pain of lost love. It's exactly what [Valkyrie] probably needs to do for herself, which is to re-engage with the idea of ​​being vulnerable and exploring love. And sometimes it's easier to help your friend see that. I don't know if it's made clear in the movie, but we imagined that Jane had been in New Asgard for a few months. We looked for ways to make it clearer, but it all felt too exposed. She was just hanging around New Asgard and Valkyrie just didn't bother to tell Thor. She didn't text him, "Hey, your ex's here." So they met, and Valkyrie has a real fondness for her. She's such a catch; Thor should be so lucky. [Valkyrie] also loves Thor a lot, so it's like, “Oh, those are two people I really love. One of my favorite scenes is Val's interaction with the actor characters of Matt Damon and Luke Hemsworth. Did you also enjoy seeing their characters' personas backstage? I loved it! These films go through so many different edits that things stay and disappear. And I usually only watch these movies at the premiere, but this time I actually watched some cuts because I found the process really interesting. I'm producing more now, so I really wanted to understand how the "sausage" is made. And so there was a cut where that part went away and I was so sad, but then it came back and I was so happy. (Laughs) I was like, "That has to be in the movie!" So I was really sad for a brief second when it wasn't there, but yeah, that was so much fun. Having her around me to explore the meaning of theater and storytelling as expressed in Asgardian culture, I just loved that. Having her around me to explore the meaning of theater and storytelling as expressed in Asgardian culture, I just loved that. I last spoke to you for the film in which you wore black, and we talked about it when you and a few other Marvel women approached Kevin Feige to present an A-Force-style film. Since it's been a minute, has anyone casually reminded him? We took a picture for Marvel [Studios]'s [10th] anniversary, and it was a rare opportunity to have all the Marvel actors in one place at the same time. So all the women were standing around talking, and with Kevin across the room, we were like, "Hey, wait a minute." So it came up in casual conversation, but I still think it was a great one idea is. I mainly want Valkyrie and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) to do something more than just play Fortnite on YouTube, so I'm hoping someone will implement that fairly soon. Brie is another person who is a good friend of mine and it would be so much fun to do something together, especially after the fun I've had with Natalie the past few days. We did a lot of press together and we tossed each other's movies because one day we accidentally arrived looking like Cher and Dionne from Clueless. So we said, "Wait a minute," and we were just proposing films that we might like to do. That's how these films are made sometimes. So I like to think of ways I can basically hang out with my friends while I'm doing something. (laughs) Bianca is great! Jordan] sent me a voice memo this morning reminding me to send him some temporary ADR. I think he has his first cut of the film and will do a little screening soon. So he wants to do some temporary ADR, but it's going really well. He is very happy with the editing. It was so much fun making [Creed III], mostly because Mike and I have such a close friendship and trust. So it was great to actually work with him on the character and the script. It was just such a treat, much like Taika and I did on [Thor: Love and Thunder]. It was really nice to be actively working on the script and bouncing ideas around as to where Val would be. So this time I felt really integral to shaping the character's journey, and that was definitely the same with Bianca. I look forward to the fans that have followed us to see the development and growth of these two characters. We've also laid the foundation for them to keep growing if fans are still showing up and wanting to see these films. You and Mike had a very specific dynamic on the first two films, but since he directed Creed III, did it take you a minute to get used to this new dynamic between the two of you? It was so interesting because I wondered what it would be like if Mike had to be co-star and director. But when we did the scene work, he felt whole in it. We slipped back into that character dynamic very easily. The only thing that was different was the time. So that felt a little different. It's been a lot of work in the past to make sure that in the context of these sports films, she essentially has an agency and an arc. I wanted to make sure that she wasn't just driving the story, but actually had something interesting to do. I wanted to make sure that she wasn't just driving the story, but actually had something interesting to do. And I usually do that work with the writers, which has been a great process so far, but this time I might be more actively doing that work with Mike. He gave me a lot of licenses for it, so it felt different. But it didn't change the dynamic between these characters. We've been making these films for almost eight years, and Mike and I have matured a lot. So there's a lot of ways the trajectory of these characters also has an interesting sort of poetry for our own personal journeys. That's the fascinating thing about playing a character over many years. Not many people can say they made Ed Harris scream in pain, but Charlotte Hale did just that in the second episode of Westworld season four. Did you enjoy your scenes with him this year? Ed Harris is one of the few actors I've worked with where I've been like, 'Holy shit, I'm working with Ed Harris. Pull yourself together.” (Laughs) I still have those moments with him because he's remarkable, and he's justifiably terrifying as the man in black. But he's lovely and we've become very close this season, more than any other. We've had a lot to do together and I've learned so much about his process. Film is so different from my experience of theatre. You learn about a person's process by being in close proximity, but there aren't many very open conversations about how we work. For example, some actors don't like to rehearse - and that's really great - but you don't really understand how people get to their work. So this season has been really nice because we've been able to talk about the work - and not just the work that we've done on Westworld. We've also talked more generally about the work we've done throughout our careers and the work we still want to do. You don't have many safe ways to do this. So I could watch him enjoy it and still be a lovely person. Charlotte is really making some power moves against humanity, and given the way things have turned out in her world, I don't blame her. I actually cheer for them. (Laughs) Yeah, that's the interesting thing about villains, and it's actually something I thought a lot about when I watched Christian. These are people who are disillusioned with the powers that be or the leadership or the world as we found it, so I don't necessarily blame [Charlotte]. She's not just striving for world domination, although that's certainly part of it. She really cares about understanding what is the best path for her people. People don't really know how to take care of the planet, how to take care of each other, and waiting for them to learn is silly. And there are definitely times when I understand and agree with that. In order to play a villain, you need to connect with the parts of their mission that you can actually relate to and believe to be righteous. And then it's really fun. Have you and the Little Woods team been in touch at all in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision? Yes, I saw [director] Nia DaCosta last night. More on that later, when it's announced... (Laughs) But we're still talking, and Little Woods wasn't an easy movie at all. It really started with Nia thinking about accessing reproductive care in this country, and she started doing Google searches, basically for places where accessing safe and appropriate reproductive care was the hardest. This is how the idea for Little Woods came about. And then she started thinking, "I want to do something that feels like a western and focuses on a woman of color in this rural town, because rural America, by and large, is pretty white in terms of Hollywood iconography." I want to put a black woman in this world.” One of the reasons I wanted to tell stories in the first place is because I really believe that political change always comes before cultural change. So making a film like Little Woods feels very important to me. And when you do something like that, you think, "This is one way I can contribute to an important cultural conversation." And those times recently... (Thompson sighs.) Nia and I were like, "Huh." I remember remembered talking to Justin Simien when we first started working on Dear White People — and that was before the spate of these weird college parties that were happening — but he knew he wanted to talk about it, a black face in a mostly white room to be. Sometimes he would say, "Is that too much?" And then suddenly it was almost not enough. I think that's how we feel about Little Woods. We did what felt like a worst-case scenario for a young woman in this country at the time. And now it's like, "Man, we've only scratched the surface of the worst-case scenario." We're living in the worst-case scenario now. I've actually had this conversation a lot, during production and because of some things that are on the agenda at my [production] company, Viva Maude. It takes a while to get television into development, and you're wondering, "Are we going to miss the window to talk about something because things seem to be moving?" But people tagged us at that time and posted as they watched Little Woods so I think the only balm is to keep trying to tell stories in addition to really working as an active and engaged citizen. Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters now.


Boris Johnson plumbed the depths of degeneration in his shabby carnival of mismanagement

The Conservative Party has no credit for finally ousting a disgraced prime minister, but they do for allowing him to do so for so long (Author: Gardener)

Boris JohnsonFrom Margaret Thatcher leaving Number 10 in tears to Gordon Brown holding his family's hands as he walked down Downing Street at dusk, the end of a prime minister's office is usually steeped in a certain pathos. I took a ringside seat for the involuntary departures of six former prime ministers, and each of these fallen leaders drew expressions of sympathy from even their most staunch opponents. To this rule, as to so many others, Boris Johnson proved the ignominious exception. His overdue defenestration was as disreputable as his time at Number 10. He is the only prime minister in modern terms to have been sacked because his lack of basic probity so disgraced the office that even his long-accommodating party can no longer ignore it could do what he was doing to the country, to their reputation and to their electoral chances. Tory MPs were horrified but shouldn't have been surprised that he was trying to hold on, even long after it was obvious that the curtain was falling on this shabby farce. To the end, he willfully disregarded the interests of anyone but his own. The result was 40 hours of savage chaos as he refused to leave even as the government imploded around him. Amid an unprecedented spate of ministerial resignations, at one point it looked like he might be looking to move on with Dilyn the Downing Street Dog as Chancellor and the rest of the Cabinet portfolios shared by Nadine Dorries, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Larry the Cat. My money was on Larry proving to be the least incompetent. In a last-ditch attempt to use a lie to save his own skin, it was claimed he would burn down the house rather than turn in the keys, trying to coax a snap election from the queen to prevent another no . vote of confidence. When the unspeakable finally gave way to the inevitable, there was not a shred of humility in his sour resignation, a spark of remorse, or a murmur of acknowledgment that he was the architect of his own downfall. A bitter speech attempted to portray itself as a victim of bad luck, "relentless sleigh rides" and panicked Tory colleagues. He and the rest of his group of apologists attempt to invent a betrayal myth by portraying him as a titan tragically torn down by pygmies. The real tragedy is that he became prime minister in the first place. When David Cameron and Theresa May announced their resignations, no one questioned their suitability to remain at No. 10 as interim PM until a successor was elected. Mr Johnson has sucked public confidence so bone dry that many in his own party believe he is unable to stay in the building a day longer. A career of surviving scandals that would have destroyed anyone else fed his delusion that he was free to break any rule and commit any breach of public integrity because he would always manage to beat himself out of the consequences . Many politicians have a casual relationship with truthfulness, but with him mendacity was pathologically brazen. His shortcomings were not slyly concealed during his rise up Downing Street. The Tory party were well acquainted with his history of dishonesty and scandal when they presented him with the keys to Number 10 three years ago. They chose to pledge their party's soul to the electoral devil in order to stand a better chance of winning in 2019, at the expense of the country handing the prime ministership to a man clearly insecure about it. However they justified themselves then and later, that makes the party collectively complicit in all the filth that followed. From trying to rig the rules to get Owen Paterson out of a tight spot to the chum express putting lucrative Covid contracts into the hands of Tory colleagues, to blatant abuse of the Prime Minister's patronage to licentious ones Breaking the law at number 10 during some of the deadliest stretches of the pandemic has been one atrocity after another with the Johnson regime. From undermining the institutions of our democracy to destroying an international treaty of his own making, his tenure as Prime Minister has been one of ruthless irresponsibility. Tory MPs and cheerleaders in the right-wing media continued to keep him at the cusp of power long after there was no doubt he would explore further depths of degeneracy before his death. When Chris Pincher was accused of sexually assaulting two men, Number 10 lied about what the Prime Minister knew about this drunken acolyte's history before making him Deputy Chief Whip. Faced with yet another failed scandal cover-up following a double whammy of electoral defeats, the Conservative Party was finally forced to stop deluding itself about its leader. "Enough is enough," declared Sajid Javid as he kicked off a cascade of resignations by stepping down as health secretary. The vast majority of the public had been saying "enough" for months. Even in those sections of the electorate that were once entertained by the Johnson-Shtick, voters had recognized that his jokes were getting their money's worth. His Downing Street mocked the sacrifices Britain had made when staff there casually and repeatedly flouted their own Covid laws. He should have disappeared when he became the first prime minister to be found guilty of breaking the law during his tenure. The Tory party deserves no credit for driving it out for good, but scorn for allowing it for so long. He pushed the 2016 Brexit vote over the line with much help from the foolish Mr Cameron. He won a large parliamentary majority for the Tories in 2019, with much help from the ineligible Jeremy Corbyn. At the time there was pretentious talk that he had a decade ahead of him as prime minister. In his armada of untruths, the flagship mendacity was that a Johnson-led Brexit Britain would see “a new golden age”. Countless colleagues and officials have given scathing testimonies about his chaotic and capricious style of governance, without a coherent strategic direction, and decisions made on a whim and then reversed. One of the most memorable quotes I have collected during his tenure as Prime Minister comes from a former cabinet minister and former Tory supporter who said: “The problem with Boris is that he is not very interested in governing. He's only interested in two things. Be king of the world and fuck.” As Covid casualties mounted, he refused to take a firmer grip on dealing with the pandemic. Retelling Dominic Cummings, the Lord of Misrule justified himself by saying, "Chaos ain't so bad, chaos means everyone has to look to me to see who's in charge." One of the unfortunate side effects of his chaos -The theory of the Premiership was that it killed a lot of people. Putting a crown on a clown doesn't make him king. The Tory party will now bet on a different circus. A first and essential task will be the attempt to restore a certain integrity of public life after the serial excesses of the Johnson regime. It will be an improvement if the Tory party can find a Prime Minister about whom the working assumption will not be that he or she lies every time they open their lips. That's how low Boris Johnson set the bar.


Sounders-Timbers still best rivalry in the league

The stars may be out and about in Los Angeles, but the best rivalry in MLS is still between Seattle and Portland, writes Doug McIntyre. (Author: Gardener)

Los AngelesEditor's note: MLS Footnotes guides you into the most important talking points about the league and American football. As MLS kicks off Rivalry Week, a grudge match stands above the rest. While this weekend much of the attention will be on Friday's El Tráfico between leaders LAFC - who could debut acclaimed summer signings Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini - and the five-time champion LA Galaxy, the most authentic rivalry in American and Canadian soccer remains one that pre-27-year-old MLS: Seattle Sounders vs. Sounders-Timbers dates back to 1975 when both played in the old North American Soccer League . They crowd each other on and off the field; One of the two clubs has featured in each of the last seven MLS Cup finals, with Seattle winning twice and Portland winning once. And while it won't be as high-profile an affair as the final battle of Los Angeles, the stakes are high when the two meet for the first time this season on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET FOX/FOX Deportes/ FOX Sports- app) in Seattle. The Sounders, now seventh in the Western Conference, have steadily climbed the table since becoming the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League title in May. After winning just three of their first ten games while coach Brian Schmetzer and his players focused on making history, Seattle has clawed its way back into the playoffs with a 6W-2N-1T record in the last nine. The Rave Green beat Toronto FC 2-0 away last weekend despite many of their top players including Stefan Frei, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan, Raúl Ruidíaz and Albert Rusnák being either rested by Schmetzer or, in Ruidíaz's case, not quite ready to come back from a hamstring injury. Seattle is the clear favorite (-118) against a Timbers side that, despite being undefeated in their last four games, is bobbing in 10th place in the West and is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2016. In the landscape of parity in MLS, rivalry matches are as much a matter of will as skill. While MLS clubs enjoy greater home field advantage than their NBA, NHL, NHL or MLB counterparts, the home team has won just two of the last 14 regular-season matches between Seattle and Portland. As the Sounders celebrate their CONCACAF crown by raising their championship banner at Lumen Field ahead of Saturday's competition, you can count on the visitors to do whatever it takes to spoil their nemesis' party. "We wanted to be first, and now that Seattle's done it, we're pissed," said Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese during Thursday's pre-game media briefing. But the manager confirmed on Friday that Ruidíaz will return to the Sounders line-up for the first time since scoring twice in the 4-0 win against Vancouver on June 14. With 10 goals in 11 career games, the Peruvian forward has been particularly cold-blooded against the Timbers since they arrived in the Pacific Northwest following the 2018 World Cup. No MLS player has been more successful against a single opponent in the last five seasons. The Sounders' next two games after Saturday will be in Nashville and Chicago, so it's important to secure all three points in front of another huge Pacific Northwest crowd. "It's a very emotional game no matter [what]," said Sounders midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who hails from the Seattle area, earlier this week. Saturday's game looks set to be something very special for Portland midfielder Eryk Williamson. The 25-year-old enjoyed a career season last year before it was cut short by a cruciate ligament injury sustained in Seattle in August. The injury came just weeks after Williamson started for the USA men's national team in their Gold Cup Final triumph against Mexico. It forced him to miss Portland's run in the 2021 title fight, all of Worlds qualifying and the first month of the 2022 season. With five assists in his last seven games -- including one from the bench in a 2-2 comeback in Nashville on July 4 -- things couldn't come at a better time for the Timbers. Will it be enough to see Williamson again with the national team before the start of the World Cup in November? S. coach Gregg Berhalter initially planned to add Williamson to his June roster before the parties agreed he would stay with the Timbers this summer. But with his stocks rising and a central midfield spot or two still up for grabs, don't be surprised if Williamson is included in the squad for USA's last two World Cup line-ups in Europe in September against Japan and Saudi Arabia line up Only a handful of expansion teams made the postseason in their first year. Ahead of Saturday's game against MVP nominee Hany Mukhtar and Nashville (7 p.m. ET FS1/FOX Deportes/FOX Sports App), the freshmen are just two points behind the New England Revolution, who claimed seventh and final playoff spot in the East occupied. To make a serious run they need more of Poland striker Karol Świderski, who started 2022 with four goals in four games but hasn't added another since March. Bale and Chiellini aren't the only former European club stars expected to play their first minutes in MLS during Rivalry Week. Long-time Mexico international and former Atlético Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera is expected to make his debut for Houston Dynamo against FCD on Saturday. While Herrera, who was signed on March 2, is finally ready to start after the Atléti season is over, Toronto fans will have to wait a little longer to see Lorenzo Insigne. TFC manager Bob Bradley said this week that Insigne has not yet fully recovered from the blow he suffered while playing for Italy in June and that he will not be available for the next few weeks. Several reports this week have suggested that TFC are close to signing Azzurri midfielder Federico Bernardeschi from Juventus on a free transfer. Toronto traded player-designate and 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo to Inter Miami on Thursday, opening up a roster spot that could be filled by Bernardeschi, 28. Toronto also agreed to a deal on Friday that will bring them Colorado Rapids midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, according to a report by Tom Bogert. Whether it's enough to film TFC's horrible (5W-10L-3T) season is another question. With the transfer window open on both sides of the Atlantic, a lot has already happened in the league. The Revolution replaced Poland international striker Adam Buksa, who joined French club Lens last month, with Juventus striker Giacomo Vrioni. Vrioni, 23, could make his debut for the Revs against New York City FC on Saturday. Elsewhere, Galaxy signed Uruguayan defensive midfielder Gaston Brugman from Serie A Parma, while Austin FC signed Ecuadorian winger Washington Corozo on loan from Peru's Sporting Cristal. Going the other way are two homegrown youngsters, Philadelphia Union midfielder Jack de Vries and D.C. United attacker Griffin Yow. De Vries will join former MLS players Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessman with Venezia in Italy's second division, while Yow will move to Westerlo in Belgium's top flight. The lower-league United Soccer League has also been busy moving young American players. S. Under-20 national team playmaker Diego Luna of El Paso Locomotive in the USL championship, while defending champions Orange County SC sent 18-year-old Kobi Henry - whose agent (and former Revs coach) Brad Friedel said he had several offers from MLS clubs – to French Ligue 1 team Reims. "It was always my dream to play in Europe," Henry told FOX Sports last month. Terms were not disclosed, but reports put Henry's transfer fee at around $700,000, the most lucrative in USL history. Clubs from across the MLS are keen on the 17-year-old, who multiple sources say is good enough to start in the domestic league now. "As our league grows, we're going to see this more and more often," USL athletic director Mark Cartwright said in a recent interview with FOX Sports. "MLS is like any other league in the world - they have to pay fair market value for our players or they go somewhere else. Doug McIntyre, one of North America's most prominent football journalists, has covered the US men's and women's national teams in more than a dozen countries, including several FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports, the New York native was an editor for Yahoo Sports and ESPN.


UFC rising star Rafael Fiziev ended Rafael dos Anjos and bizarrely challenges tennis star Rafa Nadal

Rafael Fiziev stole the show with a thrilling win over Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday and you can catch the highlights of the entire show here. (Author: Gardener)

Rafael FizievRafael Fiziev scored the biggest win of his career on Saturday as he finished off Rafael dos Anjos. The rising lightweight, who feuded with Conor McGregor this week, challenged Rafa Nadal to a bout. It's unlikely, though unclear, if Nadal would actually accept. LAS VEGAS — A new lightweight star in the UFC was announced on Saturday when rising challenger Rafael Fiziev finished Rafael dos Anjos in style at the Apex in Las Vegas. Fiziev, the first Azerbaijani athlete to compete in the world's leading martial arts organization, knocked out dos Anjos in the fifth round and then used his time at the mic to challenge another Rafa to a fight - tennis great Rafa Nadal. Fiziev's win earned him a performance-based bonus, but he wasn't the only ultimate fighter to receive an additional $50,000 check, as heavyweight slugger Chase Sherman received a bonus for his big KO win over Jared Vanderaa. Michael Johnson and Jamie Mullarkey both walked away with an additional $50,000 for their 'fight of the night,' according to the UFC. Keep scrolling for photos, videos and other highlights from the UFC main card this weekend. Jamie Mullarkey and Michael Johnson collided in one of the best fights of the night. Photos of Jamie Mullarkey and Michael Johnson's lightweight fight, a three-way fight that opened the main card of UFC's Fight Night event at the Apex in Las Vegas, show just how exciting their fight was as they combined for an exceptional 412 strikes in 15 minutes of action. It was a fight that saw both athletes endure moments when they seemed dazed and confused after absorbing one too many shots - each seemingly more thunderous than the other. Fists were flying fast, leg kicks were launched, with Johnson scoring a knockdown with a huge left hook. Mullarkey survived the vulnerable moment and rallied in the second with combinations and then again in the third to walk away with a narrow win thanks to two-two 29-28 results that outweighed a 28-29 for Johnson. Mullarkey's face looked bloodied as he awaited the official announcement - one that angered Johnson, who apparently thought he had done more than enough to claim victory. Aiemann Zahabi passed Ricky Turcios in every round of his three-round bout, hitting 54 of his 105 attempts for a 51% accuracy rate while capping Turcios from 235 to 27 connects for a meager 11% accuracy rate. The win advanced Zahabi's pro-MMA record of nine wins (five knockouts, two submissions and two decisions) against two losses. Fending off a four-fight skid, Chase Sherman returned to winning ways in exciting fashion when he knocked out Jared Vanderaa in their heavyweight bout on Saturday. Sherman pretty much knocked Vanderaa down. Chase Sherman raises his hand after obliterating Jared Vanderaa. The target came in the third round and despite the fierce back-and-forth in the early rounds, Sherman showed he had enough fuel left in the tank to unload with as many shots as it took to force an early finish. Watch the devastating beatdown here: Sherman, who improved his pro-MMA record to 16 wins (15 knockouts and one decision) versus 10 losses with the win, said it "felt great" to get the result Said Nurmegomedov extended his winning streak with a decision over Douglas Silva de Andrade. Said Nurmegomedov seemed to have his bantamweight bout against Winning Douglas Silva de Andrade alone in the first two rounds as he looked the superior fighter in both rounds Despite his famous surname and his origins from the Dagestan region of Russia, one might expect Nurmagomedov to be a fighter of the one In the opening, however, Nurmagomedov showed that he was very competent on his feet and attacked Silva de Andrade with flashy moves his kickplay extended into the second - another round in which he was eliminated - throwing and landing his opponent in terms of punches. Perhaps Silva de Andrade took his foot off the gas slightly in the third and made a comeback of sorts in the third, but it was ultimately too little too late for him to steal anything from the judges' scorecards. Referee Herb Dean raised Said Nurmagomedov's arm after his big win on Saturday. With the win, Nurmagomedov improved his pro-MMA record to 16 wins (four knockouts, four submissions and eight decisions) against two losses. Takedowns proved the difference in the middleweight match between Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan - the penultimate fight of the night. Borralho not only beat his opponent - every single round - he also knew what to do while he was there. He attempted to work a rear-naked choke on the first lap, sought a guillotine finish on the second, and in the third Petrosyan hit back – and might have benefited had it been a five-lap format. In a three-round format, however, the fight was Borralho's. With the win, Borralho extended his pro-MMA record to 12 wins (four knockouts, three submissions and five decisions) against one loss. Lightweight contenders Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev competed in the main event. Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev touch gloves before the opening round. Former lightweight conqueror Rafael dos Anjos and rising challenger Rafael Fiziev took part in a possible changing of the guard on Saturday. The two fighters are at opposite ends of their careers when comparing the legendary status dos Anjos has enjoyed for many years and the division's exciting punch of newcomer Fiziev. There were many new eyes on Fiziev ahead of the fight as Conor McGregor appeared to engage him in Twitter warfare, prompting questions from reporters at a media day attended by Insider earlier this week. Fiziev explained the background to the confrontation on social media, which seemed to indicate McGregor was drinking and using drugs before firing off tweets. Fiziev provided no evidence to support his claim. Rafael Fiziev got off to a dream start in his big test against Rafael dos Anjos. Rafael Fiziev benched early rounds against Rafael dos Anjos. Fiziev's variety of shots - from front kicks to dos Anjos' face, body punches and combination work - combined with his ability to thwart the veteran Brazilian's attempts to ground the fight saw him excel in the first round. Fiziev maintained this combination work in the second. Although dos Anjos managed to get Fiziev down, it wasn't long before the up-and-coming fighter was able to get back on his feet and control the fight from there. The photos below show Fiziev in high spirits after scoring the biggest win of his career with a left hook knockout that left dos Anjos on the floor in a vulnerable position. Referee Mark Smith prevented Fiziev from causing further damage after dropping dos Anjos with a hard left hook. Referee Mark Smith withdraws Rafael dos Anjos from the fight in the fifth. Fiziev celebrated his win after announcing himself as a new lightweight contender. Fiziev celebrated his win after announcing himself as a new lightweight contender. After establishing himself as the best Rafa in the UFC, Fiziev wants to be the best Rafa in the sport - and challenged tennis star Nadal to a fistfight. "And now I want to say that we know who is the best Rafa in the UFC," Fiziev said in his post-fight victory speech. “Now I want to challenge who is the best Rafa in the sport – Rafa Nadal's win increased Fiziev's pro MMA record to 12 wins (eight knockouts, one submission and three decisions) in one loss. There were big finishes earlier in the night. A general view of the UFC Octagon at the company's Apex studio in Las Vegas. Earlier in the night there were numerous big wins during the UFC prelims televised on ESPN, including Cody Brundage's thunderous knockout win over Tresean Gore, David Onama sending Garrett Armfield to sleep with an arm-triangle choke, and Kennedy Nzechukwu Third round knockout Karl Roberson. Those victories, including others, can be seen here. The UFC returns for a "Fight Night" event in New York on July 16. Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez lead the show with a Five-round featherweight match an.MMA UFC Rafael Fiziev