Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (centre) battles Barcelona's Hernandez Xavi (left) and Lionel Messi (right) for the ball
Jack Wilshere, centre, more than held his own for Arsenal against Barcelona's stars.

Barcelona coach: We are not interested in Jack Wilshere



Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, has laughed off suggestions he might try to sign Jack Wilshere, the talented Arsenal midfielder.

The 19-year-old was the Gunners' best player in their 2-1 over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at the Emirates Stadium in midweek, more than holding his own against the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

The England international even outshined his captain, Cesc Fabregas, whom Barcelona are eager to bring back to Camp Nou.

Guardiola, though, admitted he would not be making a move for Wilshere, and also hinted his side would find it tough to prise Fabregas away from north London.

"He [Wilshere] is a great player — a great player for Arsenal," the Barca coach said.

"And in any case, Arsene Wenger [the Arsenal manager] doesn't sell his best players."

Guardiola claimed he expects a stern test from Wenger's side in the return leg of their Champions League clash at Camp Nou.

Barca needed a late Lionel Messi strike to beat Athletic Bilbao last night as they returned to winning ways, while Arsenal, fielding a much-changed side, could only draw 1-1 at lower-league Leyton Orient in the FA Cup.

The Gunners also let a four-goal lead slip to draw 4-4 at Newcastle recently, but Guardiola insisted he drew no comfort from those results.

"Arsenal are a wonderful side," he said. "You will not hear me discredit Arsenal — they are a great side with a great coach and they will be a very difficult opponent.

"It will be a great game against a great team."

There had been talk in Spain of a mini-crisis for Barcelona after the Catalans had failed to beat Sporting Gijon last weekend and then lost at Arsenal, but a hard-fought 2-1 win over Athletic saw normal order restored.

"I see this talk of a crisis at Barca and laugh," Joaquin Caparros, the Athletic coach, said.

Caparros saw his side go behind after just three minutes, but Dani Alves was in an offside position when he ran on to Xavi's pass before squaring for David Villa to score for the third game running.

"The offside is very clear and a goal in third minute ruins everything you have worked on," he said.

On the flipside, however, Messi looked unfortunate to have two penalty appeals turned down before he scored a late winner.

Barca were not at their best but still moved back five points ahead of Real Madrid in the Primera Liga with 14 league games left.

"To be five points ahead of Madrid is a total success," Guardiola said. "They are a great team and they have a coach who has not lost a home game for nine years.

"For me, there is no better team in Europe."

Barca face their arch-rivals in the final of the Copa del Rey in April and could yet meet Jose Mourinho's side in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Guardiola said winning becomes more difficult every year.

"People say that it's easier because we have been together for longer," he said. "But every year it gets harder; you don't see Rafael Nadal beating Roger Federer 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, just like you didn't see the Chicago Bulls winning easily when Michael Jordan was playing — sometimes they won with the last shot of the game."

Victor Valdes missed yesterday's game with a knee problem, but the keeper should return in time for the clash with Arsenal.

"He has a small strain," Guardiola said. "He will be back in a few days, but we have every confidence in (second-choice keeper Jose Manuel) Pinto."

Indeed, Pinto made several fine saves against Athletic and the former Celta Vigo keeper was only beaten by Andoni Iraola's second-half penalty.

The match was Guardiola's 100th league game in charge at Barca and saw Messi make his 250th competitive appearance for the Catalan club.

About RuPay

A homegrown card payment scheme launched by the National Payments Corporation of India and backed by the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank

RuPay process payments between banks and merchants for purchases made with credit or debit cards

It has grown rapidly in India and competes with global payment network firms like MasterCard and Visa.

In India, it can be used at ATMs, for online payments and variations of the card can be used to pay for bus, metro charges, road toll payments

The name blends two words rupee and payment

Some advantages of the network include lower processing fees and transaction costs

What you as a drone operator need to know

A permit and licence is required to fly a drone legally in Dubai.

Sanad Academy is the United Arab Emirate’s first RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) training and certification specialists endorsed by the Dubai Civil Aviation authority.

It is responsible to train, test and certify drone operators and drones in UAE with DCAA Endorsement.

“We are teaching people how to fly in accordance with the laws of the UAE,” said Ahmad Al Hamadi, a trainer at Sanad.

“We can show how the aircraft work and how they are operated. They are relatively easy to use, but they need responsible pilots.

“Pilots have to be mature. They are given a map of where they can and can’t fly in the UAE and we make these points clear in the lectures we give.

“You cannot fly a drone without registration under any circumstances.”

Larger drones are harder to fly, and have a different response to location control. There are no brakes in the air, so the larger drones have more power.

The Sanad Academy has a designated area to fly off the Al Ain Road near Skydive Dubai to show pilots how to fly responsibly.

“As UAS technology becomes mainstream, it is important to build wider awareness on how to integrate it into commerce and our personal lives,” said Major General Abdulla Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief, Dubai Police.

“Operators must undergo proper training and certification to ensure safety and compliance.

“Dubai’s airspace will undoubtedly experience increased traffic as UAS innovations become commonplace, the Forum allows commercial users to learn of best practice applications to implement UAS safely and legally, while benefitting a whole range of industries.”

Fitness problems in men's tennis

Andy Murray - hip

Novak Djokovic - elbow

Roger Federer - back

Stan Wawrinka - knee

Kei Nishikori - wrist

Marin Cilic - adductor

All The Light We Cannot See

Creator: Steven Knight

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, Aria Mia Loberti

Rating: 1/5 

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8

Power: 712hp at 6,100rpm

Torque: 881Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 19.6 l/100km

Price: Dh380,000

On sale: now

if you go
Specs – Taycan 4S

Engine: Electric

Transmission: 2-speed auto

Power: 571bhp

Torque: 650Nm

Price: Dh431,800

Specs – Panamera

Engine: 3-litre V6 with 100kW electric motor

Transmission: 2-speed auto

Power: 455bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Price: from Dh431,800

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Crazy Rich Asians

Director: Jon M Chu

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeon, Gemma Chan

Four stars

if you go

The flights

Etihad, Emirates and Singapore Airlines fly direct from the UAE to Singapore from Dh2,265 return including taxes. The flight takes about 7 hours.

The hotel

Rooms at the M Social Singapore cost from SG $179 (Dh488) per night including taxes.

The tour

Makan Makan Walking group tours costs from SG $90 (Dh245) per person for about three hours. Tailor-made tours can be arranged. For details go to www.woknstroll.com.sg


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