Chelsea is expected to leave Willian and Pedro. Experienced wingers, who have been part of the Blues in recent years, have had their contracts expired on Stamford Bridge … The Corinthians offspring had their first European stop in Shakhtar Donetsk, from where he first moved to Anzhi Makhachkala, and then seven years ago to Chelsea.Willian is one of the important players in the London club, which he helped to win two championship titles and last year to triumph in the European League. The Brazilian representative negotiated with Chelsea for a long time to extend the contract, but without success, as he demanded a three-year contract.“It’s been a fantastic seven years,” written by Willian on social media. “When I received an offer from Chelsea in August 2013, I was convinced I should accept it. Today I am sure it was the right decision. In addition to winning the titles, I learned a lot about myself. I became a better player and a better person “I thank the Chelsea fans for their reception and support during my time at the club. Now it’s time to leave.” said the 32-year-old winger heading for Arsenal.In addition to William, Pedro also said goodbye to the Blues, arriving in London five years ago from his native Barcelona. The Spanish world and European champion helped to win the title in 2017 and, like his former teammate from Brazil, played a significant role in winning the EL.“I’m leaving Chelsea after five wonderful years,” Pedro said goodbye to fans of the London team. “I made the right decision, I take with me unforgettable memories. New challenges and triumphs will come,” said the 33-year-old player, who should probably head to AS Roma.
By MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent The Holmdel High School boys tennis team is once again a team to beat in the Shore Conference.After a year in which the Hornets won the Shore Conference Tournament and appeared in the NJSIAA Group II finals, Holmdel is back on the court with many of the same faces. The Hornets kept seven of their top eight players from 2014, including one of New Jersey’s toughest competitors at first singles.Michael Chen is perhaps the best weapon in Holmdel’s arsenal. The senior ended last season as the first state singles champion in school history, defeating top-seeded Tyler Schick of Millburn High School.Chen hasn’t skipped a beat in the early going this spring. Going into the Bryan Bennett Tournament at Delbarton School last weekend, Chen had dropped just a single game to start the season.The changes to Holmdel’s roster start with the rest of the singles lineup. Junior Dennis Barlotta moved up a slot to replace the graduated Sam Joynson at second singles, while sophomore Harrison Lin went from doubles to third singles.Head coach Chuck Chelednik, who is leading the Hornets for his 16th season, said Lin earned a shot at playing singles “after doing really well at doubles” a year ago.Doubles could be the key to the season, since the Hornets have two new duos competing this year.Holmdel was swept in doubles play by South Brunswick High School, which earned a 3-2 victory at the Delbarton tournament. But Chelednik expects things to improve as the season moves forward.“We have to get the chemistry down, learn to play together and talk together,” Chelednik said. “We have talented kids, but a lot of people are in different spots.” Senior David Lin and freshman Justin Wain are partners at first doubles this season. Holmdel is currently alternating pairings at second doubles. Juniors Blain Liang and Charles Jiang have “a lot of potential” and will handle most matches, according to Chelednik. He also said Liang and Jiang have already taken a step up early in the season, and Chelednik is looking forward to seeing them compete in big matches down the road. Seniors Austin Huang and Oliver Zheng are also in the second doubles rotation. They booked a point for Holmdel in a tournament win April 11 over West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South. With Chen leading an experienced Hornets squad, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find Holmdel defending its 2014 titles. The Hornets defeated Marlboro High School for the Shore Conference Tournament championship last year. They went on to take a sectional crown but fell in the Group II finals to perennial NJSIAA rival Haddonfield Memorial High School. Holmdel is undoubtedly lined up to be in the mix when the postseason arrives. How far the Hornets can travel likely depends on their progress in doubles play.“In the Shore, we should be fine at doubles. Statewide, we have to get better,” Chelednik said.Doubles proved to be a strength April 12 when Holmdel defeated Randolph High School 3-2 in the consolation finals of the Bryan Bennett Tournament.Wain and David Lin won their match in three sets, while Huang and Zheng posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory. Harrison Lin added a point with a win at third singles.
Speaking on the same programme, but in his role as Minister for Defence, Coveney also addressed the issue of a petition by PDFORRA to increase the upper service limits that apply to some of its members in the Defence Forces.“Some personel serving as Privates and Corporals, who enlisted in 1994 and afterwards are now facing the prospect of dismissal and unemployment,” a statement from the group read, “based on a contract which must be revisited and revised, so that those affected can serve to 50 years of age.”Coveney stressed that negotiations are ongoing, but that it centres around a need to have soldiers who are capable of handling “dangerous work”, such as peacekeeping missions in the Golan Heights, and to also allow new soldiers into the military.Additional reporting by AFPRead: Here’s how Russia’s ban on most EU food imports affects Ireland… > We had targeted Russian for growth and expansion… we need to find alternative markets.He noted that exports to China have increased, and that Irish beef has reached new markets in the Middle East and Asia.“It’s important that we don’t exaggerate this situation,” Coveney said, “I don’t think we’re back to cheese mountains”.Russia retaliated against Western sanctions earlier this week, banning most food imports from the United States and the European Union and threatening to block flights over its airspace.The 28-member European Union swiftly denounced the measures, which also target Canada and Australia, and said it was ready to take action in response. THE MINISTER FOR Agriculture, Food, and Marine has said the effect of Russian sanctions on the Irish food exports this year will not be as severe as previously thought.Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week programme, Simon Coveney said that the loss will be in the region of €8.2 million.This has been revised down from estimates earlier this week, when Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter claimed that it could affect as much as €70 million in exports.Coveney explained that this new figure was calculated based on the €235 million in food and drink exports to Russia last year, and the €136 million of trade that has already happened this year and so is unaffected.There was also some €91 million which has “already effectively been stopped this year because of a ban on pig meat, and other problems relating to meat and fish”.“Having said that, this is not a good news story,” the Minister added. Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) and president Vladimir Putin. Source: Photo ITAR-TASS/Valery SharifulinAt a government meeting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the embargo will affect “imports of beef, pork, fruit and vegetable produce, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway”.The ban exempts only baby food and will last one year unless “our partners demonstrate a constructive approach” with regards to sanctioning Russia, he said.I hope that the economic pragmatism of our partners will win over lousy political motives.