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Small stadiums, high temperatures: what Ronaldo can expect in Saudi

After lighting up football's biggest stages, Cristiano Ronaldo faces a very different reality in Saudi Arabia with smaller stadiums and less exalted teams -- and some very high temperatures.

Ronaldo, 37, says he's embracing the "challenge" of the Saudi Pro League, a step into the unknown for a player who is more used to Real Madrid's heaving Santiago Bernabeu stadium or the "Theatre of Dreams", Manchester United's Old Trafford.

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Barcelona hopes Super Cup win is turning point after woes

Maybe the tough times are finally over for Barcelona.

With a big victory over its main rival on Sunday, Barcelona got back to celebrating — and to feeling good about its future again.

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Barça beats Betis to set up Super Cup final against Madrid

Marc-André ter Stegen saved two penalties and Pedri converted the deciding spot kick as Barcelona defeated Real Betis 4-2 in a shootout Thursday to set up a Spanish Super Cup final against rival Real Madrid this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid defeated Valencia on penalties in the other semifinal on Wednesday, when Thibaut Courtois made the decisive save.

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Djokovic receives warm welcome in Melbourne return

Novak Djokovic received a warm and enthusiastic welcome in his return to Melbourne during an exhibition match against Nick Kyrgios on Friday.

Djokovic was deported ahead of last year's Australian Open because of a visa issue relating to his refusal to say whether he had been vaccinated for COVID-19.

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With Neuer out, Bayern still looking to sign a goalkeeper

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann wants a new goalkeeper before the Bundesliga season resumes next week.

Bayern has been looking for alternatives for the injured Manuel Neuer, who broke his leg in a skiing accident last month, but the club's search has failed to yield results so far.

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Madrid beats Valencia on penalties in Super Cup semifinal

Real Madrid will get another chance to celebrate a Spanish Super Cup title in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid defeated Valencia 4-3 in a penalty shootout in Wednesday's semifinal and will try to win its third Super Cup title in the Middle East nation on Sunday.

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Morocco pull out of CHAN tournament, blaming Algeria

Morocco announced Thursday that it was cancelling its participation in the African Nations Championship, blaming host Algeria, the kingdom's neighbor and arch-rival, for closing its airspace to Moroccan flights.

"The Moroccan national team is unable to reach (the Algerian city of) Constantine because permission for their flight with Royal Air Maroc, the team's official transporter, has not been confirmed," the Morocco's FRMF football federation said in a statement.

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Messi scores in 1st game after World Cup as PSG wins

Lionel Messi scored in his first game since leading Argentina to the World Cup title as French league leader Paris Saint-Germain beat Angers 2-0 on Wednesday.

Nearly four weeks after the final against France in Qatar, Messi needed only five minutes to make an impact. He turned neatly near the penalty area and threaded a pass to right back Nordi Mukiele, whose cross was turned in by 20-year-old forward Hugo Ekitiké.

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Collins, Kvitova advance to Adelaide International QFs

Last year's Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins needed seven match points but advanced to the Adelaide International quarterfinals on Wednesday with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over Swiss qualifier Jil Teichmann.

Collins never lost serve in the first set against Teichmann, although she saved two break points in the eighth game. But she came from 3-1 down in the second set, and won four straight games.

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Felix joins Chelsea on loan, but extends Altletico contract

Portugal forward João Félix has joined Chelsea on loan from Atlético Madrid in a deal that will keep him at the Premier League club until the end of the season.

Felix has also extended his contract with Atletico for one more year until June 2027, it was announced on Wednesday.

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