Man City highlights gulf in class over Real Madrid and strong claim for Champions League glory

The point has often been made this season that La Liga’s giants have shrunk in stature. Neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona have been anywhere near their best this term.

Indeed, Los Blancos’ mere cohesion as a more stable unit in the second half of the season, rather than convincing superiority, earned them the league title over their dysfunctional rivals.

Despite a commendable resurgence to be crowned Spanish champions, Real Madrid are well short of the standard required to rule Europe and on Friday night Manchester City proved as much.

The La Liga outfit’s 2-1 defeat at the Etihad – 4-2 on aggregate – ended their Champions League run in the round of 16 with Zinedine Zidane tasting his first elimination from the competition in his fourth managerial campaign.

It was hardly the most emphatic scoreline and the fact that Raphael Varane’s errors contributed to both goals made the contest seem closer that it was, as did the defender’s admission of guilt in a remorseful post-match interview. The Frenchman is an easy target and an obvious scapegoat after two poor back passes resulted in goals for the opposition. However, to suggest that Madrid were masters of their own downfall would be doing City a disservice.

In reality, Zidane’s men were technically and tactically out-classed.

Pep Guardiola adopted a system that the opposition couldn’t get to grips with. Gabriel Jesus played off the left flank with Phil Foden operating as a false nine, regularly dropping into far deeper roles unmarked while Raheem Sterling would push forward and inside. Right-back Kyle Walker spent much of his time in central midfield where he helped control play as the extra man and City’s front three pressed Madrid’s back-line relentlessly.

And what made this performance all the more impressive was the threat the opposition posed as

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Janine Gutierrez on traveling, quarantine: ‘Stay safe and we’ll get out of this’

Janine Gutierrez (Image: Instagram/@janinegutierrez)

Actress Janine Gutierrez penned a short yet reassuring message to fans and fellow travel enthusiasts who are currently stuck due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first time I left the country, I was already 24. I had always ALWAYS wanted to travel but it was just too expensive and for the longest time I didn’t even have a passport,” she shared on Instagram yesterday, Aug. 7.

“Ever since that first trip, I’ve been so lucky (and hungry enough that I’ve said yes or forced my way into every opportunity to leave),” she added.

The actress, whose post came with a photo from her trip to Florence, Italy, noted that she is stuck in the Philippines for now, although “that turned out to be a good thing.”

For both travel enthusiasts and aspiring travelers, Gutierrez advised: “In the meantime, let’s make our lists and imaginary itineraries and hope against hope that everything gets better soon.”

“I hope you never get too sad about feeling stuck or missing an opportunity or running into a change of plans you didn’t want,” she said.

“What’s meant to be will find its way. stay safe and we’ll get out of this.  Oh, the places we’ll go,” Gutierrez added.

The actress recently got together with her boyfriend and fellow actor Rayver Cruz for the latter’s 31st birthday on July 20. They were joined by Rayver’s older brother Rodjun and his wife, Dianne Medina.  /ra

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In the bubble, the Phoenix Suns have been perfect so far

Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker (1) celebrates with teammate Mikal Bridges after scoring the game winning basket against the Los Angeles Clippers in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — The last time Devin Booker walked off the court as a winner in four consecutive games, these were the opponents: Hampton, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Notre Dame.

That is, until now.

Booker and the Phoenix Suns — the team that came to the NBA restart at Walt Disney World with the worst record in the Western Conference and the second-worst record of the 22 teams in the field — are perhaps the best story of the bubble.

They’re 4-0 at Disney, breathing real life into playoff hopes that basically were nonexistent when the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 11. It’s the team’s first four-game winning streak since December 2018; Booker missed one of those games, so it’s his first run of four wins in a row since helping Kentucky make its Final Four run in 2015.

“It definitely feels like a tournament, a big AAU tournament, the March Madness tournament,” Phoenix’s Cameron Payne said Friday. “That’s something I never even got a chance to be in, but hey, I’ll take this.”

With Toronto losing to Boston on Friday night, the Suns are the lone team that has yet to lose in the bubble. The Raptors had been 3-0 going into that game against the Celtics.

The Suns started their bubble run with a win over Washington and followed that with victories against three playoff-bound teams — first Dallas, then the Los Angeles Clippers (both of those games being 117-115 finals, the win over the Clippers sealed by a Booker

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