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Real Madrid and Atletico meet again in last-16 of Copa del Rey

There won't be a guard of honor when Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid rekindle their rivalry in the second of three matches between the clubs in less than a month on Thursday.

The round-of-16 match in the Copa del Rey will come less than a week after Madrid beat Atletico 5-3 in extra time in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

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Benzema files defamation suit against French minister over Muslim Brotherhood allegations

Karim Benzema has filed a defamation lawsuit against France's Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who accused the soccer star of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Darmanin said in October that Benzema had "a notorious link" to the Brotherhood — a pan-Arab Islamist group which came to power in Egypt following elections a year after the 2011 popular uprising — because Benzema posted a message of support online for the people of Gaza early into the Israel-Hamas war.

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Lebanon still has a chance as Qatar advances to Asian Cup knockout stages

Host and defending champion Qatar became the first team to advance to the knockout stage of the Asian Cup tournament on Wednesday after a 1-0 win against Tajikistan.

Akram Afif scored his third goal in two games to secure victory at Al Bayt Stadium and ensure Qatar goes through as Group A winner.

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Nadal to serve as ambassador for Saudi Tennis Federation

Rafael Nadal will serve as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation, part of a recent effort by the kingdom to make inroads into tennis and other sports.

Nadal, a 37-year-old from Spain who owns 22 Grand Slam titles, currently is missing the Australian Open while recovering from a muscle tear near his surgically repaired hip. He had hoped to return to Grand Slam action at Melbourne Park after missing nearly all of 2023.

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Can too many tennis ball changes cause injuries? Players think so

In the run-up to the Australian Open, defending champion Novak Djokovic's right wrist was sore — hardly ideal for a tennis player who swings his racket primarily with that arm.

Cam Norrie, the tournament's 19th-seeded man, has been dealing with wrist pain, too. As has Brenda Fruhvirtova, one of a trio of 16-year-olds who reached the second round of the women's bracket at Melbourne Park.

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Ronaldo and Neymar brought global attention to Saudi league

Roberto Mancini has won major titles with Italy, Inter Milan and Manchester City. Now he is aiming to do it all again with Saudi Arabia.

The oil-rich nation has announced itself as a new soccer power after signing a host of the world's leading players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar to its domestic league over the past year. But the focus is on its national team at the Asian Cup as it attempts to win the competition for a record-equaling fourth time.

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Soccer player returns to warm welcome in Israel following detention in Turkey

Israeli soccer player Sagiv Jehezkel has returned to Israel to a cheering crowd, hours after he was briefly detained in Turkey for allegedly inciting hatred after he expressed solidarity with hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza during a top-flight league game.

Jehezkel landed in Israel in a small plane and was draped in an Israeli flag upon disembarking. Dozens of fans mobbed him as he left the airport, cheering, singing, and waving flags.

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KSA reveals high-tech stadium design atop cliff for 2034 World Cup

Saudi Arabia revealed designs Monday for a high-tech stadium atop a 200-meter high cliff near Riyadh where the kingdom plans to stage games at the 2034 World Cup.

The 45,000-seat venue will be named Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium for the crown prince of the oil-rich kingdom that wants to become the major player in world sports over the next decade.

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Barcelona ready to 'reset' after loss to Madrid as Vinícius celebrates hat trick

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández knew exactly what was about to come his way after another big loss to Real Madrid.

There was no point trying to stop the wave of criticism that started immediately after the demoralizing 4-1 loss in the Spanish Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

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Djokovic named Balkan athlete of the year for record eighth time ahead of Jokic

Novak Djokovic was named the Best Balkan Athlete of the year on Monday for a record eighth time, ahead of NBA star Nikola Jokic.

The 36-year-old Djokovic won three Grand Slam titles in 2023 to take his record tally to 24, while Jokic was named the NBA Finals MVP after leading the Denver Nuggets to the title. Both are from Serbia.

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