By Umeike Tiolu Chike

The Australian Open started on the 13th of January and in the past two weeks or thereabouts, there have been 63 gruelling matches and 126 players have so far been shown the back door. It will reach its summit on Sunday, the 26th of January when World Number One Rafael Nadal and the new Swiss Number One,Stanislas Wawrinka go head-to-head for the chance to win the first Grand Slam of the year. To reach the Final, the top seed Nadal dismissed long-time rival, Roger Federer easily in straight sets while Wawrinka saw off the feeble challenge of nervy Tomas Berdych having previously ended Novak Djokovic 3-year reign at the Down Under in the Quarter Final. History is however against the Swiss man as he chases his first slam. He will not only have to overcome a lopsided head-to-head against the Spaniard which stands at 0-12 but also the terrible statistic of never picked up a set in those twelve meetings. Nadal and Wawrinka in a recent tounament

The question is can HE defy the history books and stun the Tennis world to win his first major or would Rafa cruise to a 2nd Aussie Open title and a 14th career slam. Let’s take a look at what to expect from what is going to be an entertaining and physically exhausting match for fans and players alike.              


  • Rafael Nadal 12 V Stanislas Wawrinka 0


  • Nadal 7-6(7-5),7-6(8-6) round robin,2013 ATP World Tour Finals


  • ROUND 1:Defeated Bernard Tomic 6-4 retired
  • Round 2: Defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4,6-2
  • Round 3:Defeated Gael Monfils(25) 6-1,6-2,6-3
  • Round 4:Defeated Kei Nishikori(16) 7-6(7-3),7-5, 7-6(7-3)
  • Quarter-Finals: Defeated Grigor Dimtrov (22) 3-6,7-6(7-3),7-6(9-7),6-2
  • Semi-Finals: Defeated Roger Federer(6) 7-6(7-4), 6-3,6-3

Rafa consoles Roger after the latter's semi-final loss

This is Rafael Nadal’s 19th Grand Slam Final and his best performance at the Aussie Open was in  2009 when he beat rival and friend,Roger Federer in a thrilling five-set match after which the Swiss cried “God, this is killing me”



  • Round 1:Defeated Andrey Golubev 6-4 4-1 retired
  • Round 2: Defeated Aleiandro Fella 6-3,6-3,6-7(4-7),6-4
  • Round 3: Defeated Vasek Pospisil (28) walkover
  • Round 4: Defeated Tommy Robredo(17) 6-3,7-6(7-3),7-6(7-5)
  • Quarter Finals: Defeated Novak Djokovic(2) 2-6,6-4,6-2,3-6,9-7
  • Semi Finals: Defeated  Tomas Berdych(7) 6-3,6-7(1-7),7-6(7-3),7-6(7-4)

This is Wawrinka’s first Grand Slam Final appearance and his previous best at this tournament was a Quarter-Final finish in 2011. wawrinka plays the backhand against Tomas Berdych in the semi finals


His path to the final has been mostly straight forward, and he couldn’t have asked for a better start when Bernard Tomic was forced to retire after the first set of their highly-anticipated first round showdown due to hip injury. Then, in his first completed match he defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round and despite the one-sided scoreline, the young Aussie earned praise from pundits and even Nadal for his impressive showing against much more fancied opponent. The third round which was a repeat of the DOHA Final played earlier this year ended in Rafa’ favor who this time around dismissed the Monfils rather too easily. That was his best performance at that time. He dropped only six games. Nadal at the Australian Open

Next up was Kei Nishikori of Japan. He won his straight sets (two were tie breaks) despite dropping serve for the first time in the tournament. It was not a vintage performance from the muscle man of Mallorca-still enough to advance. In the quarter-finals, he was faced against first-time Slam quarter-finalist, Grigor Dimitrov. He struggled against Sharapova’s boyfriend as a blister on his hand made him lose grip and hindered his serve coupled with the Bulgarian’s brilliant performance. Despite losing the first set, he regrouped, took the second and third in tie-breaks (saved three set-points in the third) and moved another level in the fourth and took that 6-2

Rafa celebrates a point against Roger Federer in the semis

The semis brought a familiar friendly-foe, Roger Federer. This time around, Rafa was back to business as he easily took care of the Swiss Great in straight sets in what has been his best performance. His serve was lethal, his backhand passing shots were on fire, and the forehand was back; his 23rd win in 33 matches against RF.


What a tournament it’s been for Stanislas!

After his first round opponent, Andrew Golubev, fell victim to the stifling heat in the opening round,

Wawrinka celebrated his first completed victory when he defeated Alejandro Falla in four sets, and then strolled into the fourth round when Vasek Pospisil withdrew before their third round showdown due to a back injury.

He would then record his only straight-sets victory of the tournament by defeating 17th seed Tommy Robredo in the fourth round, of which two sets were decided by tie-breaks.

His Quarter-Final performance against Serb, Djokovic caught the attention of the Tennis world. He knocked NOLE off his perch in what would be his greatest victory of his career. He did that at his 15th attempt having failed to beat him on 14 previous occasions; his last victory dating back to 2006. He did it in five sets, the final set lasting sixteen games.

Wawrinka celebrates a point against Djokovic in the Quarters

And in the semi-finals, he pounced on Tomas Berdych’s nerves and defeated the Czech in four sets, with a break in the middle of the first set ultimately proving the difference as Stan finally moved into his first Grand Slam final.

The Stan Man at the Aussie Open


  • Nadal is the clear favourite in this match, and so the key for him will be to keep the pressure on Wawrinka early and try make him uncomfortable which would make the nerves set in. He should not let Wawrinka get into his strides and should make his experience in slam finals count.
  • The Spaniard will have to keep serving as well as he did during the semifinals against Roger. Because Wawrinka’s serve has been fantastic throughout the fortnight; Nadal won’t have many chances to break him so the key for him would be to hold. Wawrinka is also strong off the return, if Nadal second serve percentage should drop, he could get into trouble

Rafael Nadal

Wawrinka signature shot is the one-handed backhand and it’s worthy of note that Rafa has enjoyed some degree of dominance over one-backhanders(notably Roger and Stan) thanks to the heavy top-spin which pressures the soon-weary hand to make mistakes. While going to his backhand might not look the wisest thing to do because of the faster surfaces and because it won’t generate much spin unlike the clay surface. It won’t however be out of place if he pressures it to see whether it would crack and also to open up Wawrinka’s forehand. If He can gain entry into his backhand then he won’t be far from the title.

  • He will also have to keep going for broke on his passing shots and move Wawrinka around the court. The Swiss is a very aggressive player and likes to be in control, and so Nadal will have to keep from getting too defensive.
  • Nadal is 12-0 against Stan and that record would do his confidence no harm. He should not however underestimate him. He should approach the match with utmost respect like he’s always done.


  • Stan is going to have to play the match of his life if he’s to win his first Slam and shock the whole world. The good thing is that he’s been excellent this past two weeks. He should draw inspiration from his quarter-final win over Novak Djokovic and try replicate everything in that five-set encounter.
  • He’ll need to serve and return exceptionally well so that he can play the points on his own terms. He can’t allow Nadal dictate the tempo as very few players are able to match Rafa in that aspect.
  • He will have to take whatever opportunities he gets as they’ll probably come in bits. Rafa’s serve has not been the greatest (bar the semi-final) and he’ll fancy his chances of breaking his serve. The question is whether he’ll take advantage of break-point opportunities and when he does, he can’t afford to let Nadal back in the game easily. Nadal is not known for being generous with points especially when the momentum shifts back to him

Stan and Rafa

He also has to go for early winners as engaging in long rallies with Rafa would probably be a waste of time. He however has to remain calm and not get too overly excited. He should however remain assertive and end rallies fast.

  •  He should try to take the ball away from Nadal, make him run. He should however be careful of coming to the net because as we saw in the Spaniard’s match against Federer, he’s got deadly passing shots.
  • I’m not a psychologist but I can imagine what losing to the same player 12 times in a row would do to one’s confidence (he’s even yet to win a set).It’s a big mental block Stan has to clear if he’s to have a chance of winning the Aussie Open. He’s got to believe in himself despite all the odds stacked up against him. He can look at his victory over Djokovic and draw confidence. The moment he loses faith, the runner-up trophy will be in his hands.


  • This will be their thirteenth meeting overall; Nadal has won all twelve of their meetings in straight sets, including four times last year.
  • This will be their third meeting at Grand Slam level; Nadal won their previous two losing just six games in each of them.
  • Win or lose, Stanislas Wawrinka is guaranteed to become the Swiss number one for the first time ever, displacing Roger Federer who had been the top Swiss since 2001.

Stan celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic

This will be Nadal’s 19th career Grand Slam final, while for Wawrinka this will be his first.

  • Wawrinka joins David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Mariano Puerta in having Nadal as an opponent in their first Grand Slam final.
  • Only Roger Federer (twice, at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007) and Novak Djokovic (Wimbledon and US Open 2011 and Australian Open 2012) have beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam final.
  • Victory for Nadal would extend his head-to-head record against Federer and Wawrinka combined to 36-10.
  • Victory for the Spaniard would see him become the first man in the Open Era to achieve the double Career Grand Slam, and also see him equal Pete Sampras on 14 Grand Slam titles.
  • Those would also see him stake his claim to greatness over Roger Federer, who has only won the French Open once, and Sampras, who never won at Roland Garros let alone reach the final.
  • Wawrinka is the first man other than Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray to have reached the final here since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2008.
  • No non-Big Four member has won the Australian Open since Marat Safin won in 2005; likewise, no non-Big Four member has won a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 US Open.
  • Apart from Roger Federer and Martina Hingis, no other man or woman from Switzerland has won a Grand Slam title.


Wawrinka will most likely push Nadal but that won’t stop the Spaniard from walking away from Melbourne tied with Pete Sampras on 14 major titles and edge closer to Roger Federer’s record of seventeen. If Rafael Nadal can play anything close to the level he reached against another Roger than in all fairness there is little Stan would be able to do. That’s just the reality of facing Nadal in his prime. Stan has no doubt been brilliant but the runners-up trophy would most likely be his reward for his efforts. Nadal will beat Wawrinka in four tight but entertaining sets.

Questions of the Day

  • Who do you feel will win the title?
  • What else must the players do to have their hands on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup





The year 2014, in terms of sports, can be described as a large-wrapped parcel that is laden with a whole lot of treasures. It is the kind year that many sports lovers look forward into; always exciting, never ever dull. Although there hosts of activities lined up, this article will narrow the lens of focus to the major activities in which our dear country Nigeria will be involved, and of course, to examine our chances in these various competitions.



The African Nations Championship is a tournament for all home based African players. It is an opportunity for African footballers based within the continent to showcase their talents. Its inaugural edition was won by DR Congo on the coast of ivory 5 years ago; the second edition was won by Tunisia on Sudanese soil in 2011. The CHAN 2014 is the third edition. The tournament started on the 11th day of January and shall end on the 1st of February.


The Super Eagles are appearing for the first time in this competition. But the tag of debutants has not stopped pundits from considering the men from West Africa as major contenders for the title, with a triumphant performance on the same grounds this time last year and the extra cutting edge that the Big Boss adds to this team, such expectation is realistic. However, there is more to hope for from this team. Stephen Keshi himself had this to say before the start of the tournament- “It is not possible to build a team for a major championship in three weeks, not even Fabio Capello or Arsene Wenger can do that. However, I know the boys are physically and mentally prepared for what lies ahead and are ready to make Nigerians proud.”

 In addition, the injuries and the departure of some key players to foreign clubs have also affected the team. All in all, the Super Eagles have a chance of soaring again and the victory against the hosts is not just a morale booster but a pointer to the inherent talents in this team. Nigeria is currently in the Q-finals of the competition and will be facing the Moroccans on the 25th of January.

The home based Eagles








The Commonwealth Games is scheduled to hold from July 23 to Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 17 events at this competition out of which Nigeria will participate in 6. At the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, Nigeria won 11 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze medals, coming ninth overall; the country’s track and field team put excellent performance reminiscent of its outing in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990 and Victoria, Canada in 1994. Immediately after the Commonwealth Games is the Para-Commonwealth games in which Nigeria will also participate in 3 events.


Nigeria will participate in six events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The events are Boxing, Athletics, Weight-lifting, Wrestling, Rugby and Table-tennis in both male and female categories. No fewer than 30 Nigerian elite athletes have commenced training in various locations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Some of them have suspended any form of celebrations in their off-season just to concentrate on their build-up plans.

In Athletics, the biggest names for Nigeria are Blessing Okagbare, Obinna Metu, Egwero-Ogho Oghene, and Fred Agbaje. Blessing Okagbare (Africa’s fastest female sprinter with 10.79 sec) and Obinna Metu (Nigeria’s fastest male sprinter with 10.12 sec) are the 2 that should be watched out for. Blessing will be looking to build on her exploits at the World Championships while Obinna, who was missing at that championship, will be eager to prove why he is regarded as Nigeria’s best. A lot is being expected in Athletics; Nigeria should be able to clinch some medals.

Nigeria's main hope in athletics, Blessing Okagbare






In addition, Team Nigeria’s chances of winning medals in the Weight lifting category are very high. Excellent performances in various competitions during the past year serve as testaments to this fact. Team Nigeria’s weightlifters were at their Commonwealth Games qualifiers in Malaysia recently and with bag full of medals.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games logo






Table tennis is also looking to make an impact at the games. Lagos State Sports Commissioner, Wahid Enitan Oshodi who presides over the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation as President has brought sanity to the game. Lagos hosted an I.T.T.F approved tournament last year and the country’s players have been busy moving around the continent for various competitions.

Nigeria’s chances in the wrestling category are quite fair. Barring injuries, lack of proper preparation and funding, the wrestling contingent shall deliver goods. The sport has witnessed a revival after years of being ran aground; considering the competitions in which they excelled back in 2013, e.g. the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in South Africa, Daniel Igali Wrestling Clinic, E.K Clark Wrestling Championship and Gov. Seriake Dickson Wrestling Championship, it is safe to be optimistic about performance of Nigerian wrestlers at the Glasgow Championships.

The Games mascot





Unlike its Wrestling Counterpart, Boxing has not been Nigeria’s forte in recent past. Much should not be expected from the Boxing category, it would be a miracle if Nigeria gets any medal from there. The nation’s performance in 2013 was below par, and that only serves as an echo of what to expect in Scotland.

In the same manner, Nigeria cannot take solace in Rugby. The nation has been drawn with the host country, alongside gold medal favorites New Zealand and Canada. New Zealand is 12th placed in the world while Canada is 13th placed. New Zealand has set a high standard in the Commonwealth games, winning the gold in every tournament and in doing so unbeaten. With all due respect, Nigeria should just see this as a medium of gaining more experience for subsequent rugby competitions.



As one of several ever-present teams at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Nigerians can look back at a rich history in the competition, having twice qualified for the quarter-final stage. Together with Ghana, the Flamingoes have represented their continent at all three previous U-17 women’s finals. After being eliminated on goal difference at their first attempt in 2008, the team topped their group two years later. They were knocked out in the next round in one of the all-time classic matches of the competition, going down 6-5 after extra time against eventual winners, Korea Republic. In 2012, the Flamingoes again won their group. Hopes of becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals, however, were dashed as they were beaten on penalties by France, who went on to lift the trophy.


Nigeria qualified for the finals of the under-17 competition without playing a single match. Together with South Africa, the West Africans received a bye into the final round of the preliminaries, where they were drawn against South Sudan, who themselves had advanced to the second round after Morocco withdrew from the competition. However, the east Africans pulled out of the competition before the first match, giving Nigeria a place at the finals without the chance to kick a ball. Coach Bala Nkiyu, who took over the team shortly before the scheduled qualifiers against South Sudan, said that he is confident his side will prove tough in Costa Rica, even though they have not played a competitive game since the last World Cup. “I will not predict how we will finish because you have to respect your opponents, but I am sure we will have a good team.” Nkiyu brings the experience of having been an assistant to Uche Eucharia at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. “Nigerian women’s football has traditionally been very strong in Africa, and we are challenging globally at youth level. With good preparations, we will be a force to be reckoned with in Costa Rica,” said Nkiyu, who has also coached teams in Nigeria’s Premier League. We have not actually seen this team in action but based on Nigeria’s exploits in age grade competitions, it is safe to expect a title challenge from this team. The Nigerian team is grouped with China PR(2nd appearance), Mexico(3rd appearance) and Colombia (3rd appearance).The likes of Mexico and Colombia would Nigeria close but the Flamingoes should have what it takes to scale past this stage.

 The Flamingoes in a recent match










Yekini against Bulgaria at the 1994 FIFA World Cup






This is the 5th time the Super Eagles will be the mundial. However, a second round exit has been the best performance ever. A lot has been said about this and there be no need to add more.

The Eagles with the AFCON Title








The African Champions fell into a relatively easy group with Argentina being the major obstacle to progress. However, the Bosnians are in a class of their own and must not be overlooked; they might just end up finishing top of the group. The last team is Iran and quite frankly they are the scape goats of this group. All said and done, the Super Eagles have a good chance of finishing second in this group but that means facing a top placed team from the next group. With the quality of the Super Eagles though, a q-final exit is a realistic target.

Super Eagles celebrate winning the African Cup of Nations






*************** The draws for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup are yet to be held and as such, it would be foolhardy to talk of chances at this time. The draws are slated for the 1st of March, 2014 in Montreal, Canada. The final round of African qualifiers for Canada 2014 is being played on a home-and-away basis between 10th and 26th January 2014. Nigeria is 6-0 up from the first leg against South Africa and will hope to finish the job on 25th January. ***************

The falconets will hope to soar in Canada






There is a lot going on for Nigeria in the world of sports. Having tasted glory and success in 2013, Nigerians will be hoping and praying that their thirsts for more will be quenched again this year. We, the Touchline UI crew, can only cross our fingers and toes as we sit back and relax to enjoy another year of sports regardless of Nigeria’s performances, and we advise you to do the same.

Let us know your opinions concerning these tournaments. In which competitions do you feel Nigeria can excel and the ones in which the chances are slim, what do you think?


The Winter Transfer Window is upon us .After 16 days; one can say it’s been relatively quiet. It’s not totally surprising given the risk associated with buying players mid-season. For every Luis Suarez, there is a Fernando Torres and for every Andy Carroll, a Daniel Sturridge .The winter transfer window serves as a chance for teams to shuffle their squads. This article looks at the teams challenging for the top places (Title and Champions League), positions that need additions, likely targets and departures.


The Gunners






League Position: 1st

In : None

Out :Chuba Akpom(Brentford, loan),Anthony Jeffrey(Wycombe Wanderers,Free)

What They Need: A Striker and a Defensive midfielder

If the Gunners are to have a genuine chance of winning the league, Arsene Wenger must get a striker. Oliver Giroud is having a good scoring season and his link-up play with the team is near-perfect. On the other hand, he’s looked jaded in a couple of matches and prior to the Newcastle match, he had gone 5 league matches without scoring. Podolski is an alternative but tends to drift to the byline and can’t simply link-up with the rest of the team. Walcott is out for the rest of the season. Nicklas Bendtner has shown he’s a decent finisher but he’s also injured. Sanogo has spent more time on the treatment table than the pitch and is inexperienced.

Arsenal target Draxler in Schalke colours






Arsenal also need a defensive midfielder. Flamini might not be the best passer but is a ruthless winner of the ball and offers protection to the defence. He is however prone to odd bookings. Arteta is not a natural DMF but has so far performed admirably in that position although he does not protect the defence the way the Frenchman does.

Potential Targets

Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid): He’s miles ahead of the Frenchman when it comes to finishing. He won’t come cheap as he is currently settled at the Vicente Calderon and the club has no intention of selling him. A January move looks unlikely.

diego costa






Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): Another who has been linked to the Emirates but whose switch looks unlikely as his team, Real is another side that need a striker.

Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle): He’ll be a good signing. He is an excellent ball-winner and can score goals.







Jackson Martinez (FC Porto): He has proven himself in the Primera Liga netting 38 goals in 44 domestic league fixtures. His strength, physical presence and his finishing would no doubt be an asset. He has a reported 33.2 million pounds buyout clause.

Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid): Morata would be a good loan deal. He is a decent poacher and a team player.

  • Other Targets

Fabian Schar (RB) Basel, Dimitar Berbatov(FW) Fulham, Kurt Zouma (CB) Saint Ettiene, Julian Draxler (AMF) Schalke 04, Cheikhou Kouyate(CB) Anderlecht, David Santon (LB) Newcastle, Alexandre Pato(FW) Corinthians, Sebastian Giovinco(AM) Juventus, Mattia Destro(FW) AS Roma and Saul Niguez(CM)Atletico Madrid

Bacary Sagna






Potential Departures

Thomas Vermaelen, Lukasz Fabianski, Nicklas Bendtner, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong


  • League Position:3rd
  • In: Bertrand Traore(Association Jeunes Espors DeBobo Dioulasso,undisclosed),Nemanja Matic(Benfica,21 million pounds),Mohammed Salah( Basel, 11 million pounds)
  • Out: Bertrand Traore (Vitesse Arnhem, Loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, Loan), Patrick Bamford (Derby County, Loan), Jimmy Kebe (Leeds, Loan),Ryan Bertrand(Aston Villa,Loan),Kevin De Bruyne(Wolfsburg,17 million pounds),Josh McEachran(Wigan Athletic,Loan),Michael Essien(AC Milan) and Nathaniel Chalobah(Middlesbrough,Loan).
  • What They Need: A Striker that can actually score goals

falcao in monaco colours






The need for a top-class striker has been well documented and needs no further introduction. Torres, Eto’o, Demba Ba and Andre Schurrle have a combined goal haul of 17. Luis Suarez beats that by 5. Mourinho has however repeatedly stated that he’s happy with his strikers and their contribution to team. Like Arsenal, if they want to make a serious push for the title they would need to bring a world class striker as soon as possible.

matic with his chelsea jersey






Potential Targets

  • Radamel Falcao (Monaco): He would be a great signing and a statement of intent. The fact that his club is not in the Champions League means the Colombian won’t be cup-tied. It remains to be seen whether a move would be sanctioned as the Blues just announced a loss of 49.4 million pounds for the year 2013. A move looks unlikely this winter.
  • Jackson Martinez (FC Porto): A player who will no doubt fit into Mou’s team. His aerial and physical threats are assets Jose admires in a striker.
  • Mario Balotelli (AC Milan): A talented but equally controversial footballer. His Club would be reluctant to let him go as he’s seen as a key player in the next “Milan” though that could change if they receive a big offer.
  • Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim):Chelsea has been credited with a move for the 21 year old German winger. He is a left-footed player blessed with pace and dribbling skills and can play on the right wing.He is currently valued at12million Euros. He can also play upfront. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and German Champions Bayern have all been credited with interest. Expect this to turn to a bidding war which won’t end in January.

Kevin Volland of Hofenheim






Other Targets

Kurt Zouma(CB) Saint Etienne, Diego Costa(FW) Atletico Madrid, Eliquim Mangala(CB) FC Porto, Luke Shaw(LB) Southampton, Fredy Guarin(CM)Inter Milan and Saul Niguez(CM)Atletico Madrid

  • Potential Departures

Demba Ba, David Luiz and Juan Mata

Juan Mata of Chelsea







  • League Position:5th
  • In: Aiden McGeady (Spartak  Moscow,2.5million pounds)
  • Out:Tyias Browning(Wigna,Loan),Shane Duffy(Yeovil,Loan), Hallam Hope(Northampton,Loan),Matthew Kennedy(Tranmere,Loan), Chris Long(MK Dons,Loan) and Matthew Pennington(Tranmere,Loan), Nikica Jelavic (Hull City,5.25 million pounds +1million pounds) and Mason Springthrope(Woking,Loan).

Roberto Martinez has so far done an excellent job at the Goodsion Park. He’s got the team playing an attractive style of football something his predecessor, would applaud.

The loan signings of Martinez have been spot on. Barry has been a revelation; Lukaku has continued from where he stopped at Hawthorns last season. All this has led to them been touted as the dark horses for a top four finish.

For this ‘dream’ to be realized, Roberto needs to get another striker. Nikica Jelavic has moved to Hull City. Arouna Kone is out for a long spell and Apostolos Vellios is inexperienced.

McGeady at his unveiling







Apart from the front line, Martinez needs a central defender. There is nothing wrong with the partnership of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin but Phil is 31 and Distin is 35. Antolin Alcaraz is 31 and has been out for some time.Johnnny Heitinga could leave and Shane Duffy is on loan at Yeovil Town.

  • Potential Targets

John Souttar (CB) Dundee United, Bruno Martins Indi(CB) Feyenoord, Yann M’Villa (DM) Rubin Kazan, Eddy Onaz(CM) Lazio, Ryan Gauld (AM) Dundee United, Nabil (FW) AIK Stockholm, Wilfried Zaha(FW) Manchester United, Diogo Viana(FW) Gil Vicente, Michy Batshuayi( FW) Standard Leige, Landon Donovan(FW) LA Galaxy, Kenwyne Jones(FW) Stoke City, Andrew Robinson(LB) Dundee United and Emmanuel Agyeman-Badu(CM) Udinese


Aiden McGeady has joined and I have no doubt that he’ll be a good signing for them. He would bring the width they’ve at times lacked this season. He’s got decent pace and is equally a tricky player. Landon is a good player and won’t be a stranger in the dressing room. Jones is good in the air and is another option. Andrew Robinson, I feel will only will be necessary if Baines decides to jump ship and join United.Yans M’Villa would a good addition especially with Barry’s deal a loan. All this depends on money.

  • Potential Departures

Johnny Heitinga, Ross Barkley and Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines








  • League Position:4th
  • In: None
  • Out: Adam Morgan( Yeovil,Free), Ryan McLaughlin(Tranmere,Loan),Graig Roddan(Accrington,Loan),Tiago Ilori(Granada,Loan)
  • What they Need

Brendan Rodgers side has so far surpassed all expectations. The Reds currently occupy the final Champions League place and still with an outside chance of contending for the title. Luis has been firing on all cylinders. His partnership with Daniel Sturridge has blossomed. The defence has also experienced some form of stability and there is depth. It’s the midfield and the wide areas I feel need signings. Moses has been particularly disappointing and Henderson for all his industry is no wide man or a number 10.The full back positions could do with a backup as Enrique has been in and out of the team and Cissokho is clearly not the answer. On the right, Glen Johnson’s form has nosedived recently and there is no cover.

Luis Suarez







Potential Targets

Ivan Rakitic (CM) Sevilla: The Sevilla Captain has been in good form this season and has so far attracted a host of European clubs amongst who are Liverpool and Paris Saint Germain. He recently stated he’s happy in Spain.

Mohammed Salah (FW) Basel: The Egyptian forward would no doubt be an excellent addition. He is versatile. He can play on the flanks and off a striker. He’ll bring the much needed pace and width to the team .Chelsea fans won’t forget him in a hurry.

Salah vies with Chelsea's Lampard







Other Targets

Arda Turan (AM) Atletico Madrid, Martin Montoya(RB) Barcelona, Javier Pastore(AM) Paris Saint Germain, Ryan Gauld(AM) Dundee United, Danny Ings(CF) Burnley, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu(CM)Udinese, Will Hughes(CM) Derby County,Fernando (FC Porto), Cheikhou Kouyate(CB) Anderlecht and Ola John(Winger) Benfica

  • Potential Departures

Iago Aspas (loan), Luis Alberto (loan), Daniel Agger and Tiago Ilori (Loan)


  • League Position: 2nd
  • In: None
  • Out: John  Guidetti(Stoke,Loan),Abdisalam Ibrahim(Released),Albert Rusnak(Birmingham City,Loan)
  • What They  Need: A solid defensive partner for Vincent Kompany

The attacking talent of this team is frightening.Aguero and Negredo have developed a telepathic understanding. Dzeko has 15 goals to him despite the fact he’s not a starter. Yaya Toure has been really impressive, Nasri has looked rejuvenated. Navas with his direct running and pace has given them the width they lacked last season. It’s however at the back where they look short. Club Captain Vincent Kompany, one of the best around has been off and on and the backups have looked shaky. Martin Demichelis is no doubt an experienced stalwart but has shown every bit his age this season. Joleon Lescott is not fancied by Manuel Pellegrini and Natasic tends to play well only when Kompany is around. Goalkeeper Joe Hart also has question marks after some poor early season form.







Potential Targets

    • Nicolas Otamendi (Centre Back) FC Porto. He has won 15 caps for Argentina, a 3-time Primera Liga Champion and a Europa League winner. The 25 year old will be a valuable addition to the team.
    • Kurt Zouma (Centre Back) Saint Etienne: The subject of interest of so many clubs. A prospect for the future. He won’t come cheap but this is Manchester City (they have the money).

Kurt Zouma






Eliaquim Mangala (Centre Back) FC Porto: Another player the big teams in England are keeping tabs on. He is valued at 40 million pounds by Porto. Whether the Eastland side would sanction such a move remains to be seen.

mangala of Porto







Sergio Ramos (Centre Back) Real Madrid: For all his disciplinary issues, he still remains one of the best in his position. An excellent ball playing defender who hardly let his opponents get past him. He won’t come cheap

    • Other Targets
    • Kelechi Iheanacho(Winger) Taye Academy, Lassana Diarra (Defensive Midfielder) Lokomotiv Moscow, Dante(Centre Back) Bayern Munchen, Luke Shaw(Left Back) Southampton and Willy Caballero(GK) Malaga
    • Potential Departures

Joleon Lescott, Jack Rodwell and Aleksander Kolarov


  • League Position: 7th
  • In: None
  • Out: Anderson(Fiorentina,Loan),Jack Barmby(Hartlepool,Loan)
  • Who They Need: A world class midfielder

The Manchester United midfield is static, pedestrian, predictable and lacks creativity. Carrick has not hit the heights of last season due to his romance with injury, Cleverley has played almost every league game but has no assist to his name, Anderson has been largely disappointing; another who flirts with injuries. Fletcher has been out for a while and it would take some time for him to get back to top form.Marouane Fallaini has been largely uninspiring. The likes of Young and Nani are decent players but not good enough for a club of the stature of United. The former is known better for his diving antics than his football skills.







The left back needs reinforcement.Evra’s past his best and would not be offered a new deal. Buttner looks a backup material and Fabio is another who would be shown the backdoor. If Manchester United is to conjure a comeback and clinch an unlikely Champions League slot, then quality additions need to be made. It’s hard to imagine them sign 6-7 players this month but I still expect them to try.

Potential Targets

    • Koke (AM) Atletico Madrid: The 21 year would bring fluidity and pace to a static midfield. He has a 16million Euros buyout clause. With Atletico firmly in the title race and the Red Devils not sure of their Champions League slot, I doubt if moving to Old Trafford would interest the Spaniard.

koke celebrates a goal






IIkay Gundogan (CM) Borussia Dortmund: He would be an excellent signing. I don’t see any move happening in this winter window.

    • Wesley Sneidjer: Not the force he was a couple of years ago. He would still be a good addition. He is 29 and United might not go for someone who would have a low resale value. A move is unlikely.
    • Marco Reus (AM) Borussia Dortmund: This is unlikely as the player has said he’s happy at the Signal Iduna and is not keen on a move. A massive blow to United.
    • Arturo Vidal: One of best midfielders in this world. I don’t see how a move would materialize. He just extended his contract and is happy at Juventus.
    • Leighton Baines: A long time target of the Red devils. Yesterday’s reports have it that he’ll sign a new deal at Everton to keep him for the rest of his career. A big blow!
  • Other Targets

Alex Sandro (LB) FC Porto, Ross Barkley(AM) Everton, Luke Shaw(LB) Southhampton, Antoine Griezmann(FW) Real Sociedad, Ander Herrera(CM) Athletic Bibao, Fabio Coentrao(LB) Real Madrid, Paul Pogba(CM) Juventus, Ezequiel Garay(CB)Benfica, Claudio Marchisio(CM) Juventus, Everton Ribeiro(AM) Cruzeiro and Marek Hamsik(CM) Napoli

  • Potential Departures







Nani, Ashley Young, Fabio, Zaha (Loan) and Javier Hernandez

Ashley Young and Hazard vie for the ball in the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford








  • League Position:6th
  • In: None
  • Out:Jermain Defoe(Toronto,6million pounds),Simon Dawkins(Derby, undisclosed),Jon Obika(Brighton, Loan),Shaquille Coulthirst(Leyton Orient, Loan)
  • What They Need: A Left Back and a Striker

It’s hard to imagine Daniel Levy getting his chequebook out after spending 100 million pounds in the summer. The squad looks fairly settled with good depth. It’s in the left back that I feel they lack quality. Rose has not been consistent and while Vertonghen is adept at playing there, he’s better as a Centre back.Assou Ekotto could also be recalled from QPR.

With Defoe’s impending departure, they’ll have only two senior strikers and Kane, a back-up. A striker would be needed especially as Tim Sherwood prefers two strikers upfront.

  • Potential Targets.

Alexander Buttner(LB) Manchester United, Dodo(LB) AS Roma Alvaro Morata(FW) Real Madrid, Shane Long(FW) West Brom, Mohammed Salah(FW) Basel, Luke Shaw(LB) Southampton, Bafetimbi Gomis(FW)Lyon, Giuseppe Rossi(FW) Fiorentina Diego Perotti(AM) Sevilla, Fabio Quagliarella(FW) Juventus and Ezequiel Lavezzi(FW) Paris Saint Germain

rossi of Fiorentina







Potential Departures

Erik Lamela, Paulinho, Lewis Holtby,Kyle Naughton, Etienne Capoue, Heurelho Gomes and Nacer Chadii

Erik Lamela







Questions of the Day

  • Who should your club go for?
  • Who would be your dream signing?
  • Who would you be unhappy to see leave?



Happy New Year!  We bring to an end the TOUCHLINE UI SPORTSPERSONS OF THE YEAR, 2013 article. We look at the top five individuals who made us stand back as they mesmerized us this past year.


  • Date of Birth: 27th December, 1986
  • Nationality: Jamaica


  • She’s ranked first in the women’s  100m ranking  with 1457 points
  • She’s tops the 200m list with 1375 points
  • In the women’s overall ranking , she’s first  with 1457 points


  • In a time of 10:71 seconds, she won the 100m gold at the World Championship in Moscow
  • She won gold In the 200m in a time of 22:17 seconds at the World Championship in Moscow(First major over that distance)
  • She, alongside Carrie Rusell,Kerron Stewart and Schillione Celvant won the 4x100m in a time of 41:29 seconds at the World Championship in Moscow
  • She also won the Diamond League


Personal& Annual Best

  • On the 21st of February, 2013, she ran a personal best of 7:04 in the 60m race in Stockholm, Sweden which is also an annual best
  • She, alongside her teammates ran a personal best of 41:29 seconds on the 18th of August at the World Championship.
  • She ran annual best of 10:71 seconds at the World Championship on the 12th of August, 2013
  • Her time of 22:13 seconds in the 200m race at Kingston, Jamaica on the 23rd of June, 2013 is an annual best.
  • Her time of 56:53 in the 400m race at Kingston, Jamaica on the 23rd of March, 2013 is an 
    annual best

Fraser- Pryce at the World Championship in Moscow







  • She is the first female sprinter to win gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in a single world championship.
  • She won her first major title in the 200m at the World Championship in Moscow.
  •  On the 16th of November, she won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year.

Pryce receives her World Athlete of the Year Award. Usain Bolt looks on









  • Date of Birth:21st August, 1986
  • Nationality: Jamaica


  • He is ranked first in the Men’s 100m list with 1447
  • He is second in the 200m list with 1369 points
  • In the men’s overall ranking, he tops the list with 1493.


  • He won gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100m events at the World Championship.


  • He won the 100m race at the London Anniversary Games in a time of 9:85 seconds. He also participated in the 4x100m relay that was won by Jamaica.


  • On the 23rd of March, 2013, he ran an annual best of 46:44 seconds in the 400m in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • On the23rd of February, 2013, he ran an annual best of 3:06:09 in the 4x400m in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • On the 11th of August, 2013, he ran an annual best of 9:77 seconds in the 100m final of the World Championship.
  • On the 17th of August, 2013, He ran an annual best of 19:66 in the 200m final of the World Championship.
  • On the 18th of August, 2013, he ran an annual best of 37:36 in the 4x100m final of the World Championship.

Usain Bolt at the World Championship, Moscow









  • He won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year on the 16th of November
  • He won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. (also in 2009 and 2010).


  • Date of Birth:26th of September,1981
  • Nationality: American
  • Rank: First with 13260  points


  • She had a 78-4 win-loss ratio for the year 2013.The percentage of that is 95.12
  • She won 11 titles
  • She had a 28-0 win-loss ratio on clay. She went undefeated on clay (the surface considered to be her least favorite).
  • She had a 34 match winning streak from the Sony Open to the Wimbledon Championship where she fell to Sabine Lisicki.
  • She has a 15 match winning streak at the WTA season-ending Championship.
  • In Finals, her win-loss ratio on surface was 6-2(Hard court), 5-0 (clay) while for venue was 10-2 (Outdoors) and 1-0(indoors)

Serena Williams with the French Open Title








  • Brisbane International
  • Sony Open Tennis
  • Family Circle Cup
  • Mutua Madrid Open
  • Internazionale BNLd’ Italia
  • FRENCH OPEN(Grand Slam)
  • Collector Swedish Open
  • Rogers Cup
  • US OPEN(Grand Slam)
  • China Open
  • WTA Tour Championship


  • She finished the 2013 season with $12,385,572 in prize money. That number is over $4 million above the previous record of $7.9 million held by Victoria Azarenka in 2012.According to WTA; only 26 players have earned $10.8 million in their careers. Williams beat that by$1.5million in one season.
  • Her 11 titles are the most since Martina Hingis won 12 in 1997 and her 78 victories, the most since Kim Clijsters won 90 in 2003.
  • Serena Williams won two Grand Slam titles (the French and US Open) which puts he on 17 Singles Grand Slams Titles. That haul is tied up with tennis great, Roger Federer and she’s just one slam from Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
  • She took over the WTA top spot on February 17, becoming the oldest player in the WTA history to do so.
  • Serena’s $3.6 million earning at the 2013 US Open is the largest in tennis history (tied with Rafael Nadal).
  • She won 34 consecutive matches which is a career best.
  • By winning her 57th title at Tour Championship in Istanbul, she passed Monica Seles(53), Lindsay Davenport and Virginia Wade(55) and moved to the WTA’s all-time title list.
  • She won the WTA Player of the Year 2013 for the second year in a row and 5th time in her career(2002,2008,2009 and 2012)
  • On the 26th of December, 2013, she won the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.


  • Date of Birth: 3rd of June,1986
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Rank: First with 13030 ranking points


  • He had a 75-7 win-loss ratio for the year 2013(91.46%)
  • He won 10 titles
  • He appeared in 17 tournaments and made the finals of 14
  • He won 18 consecutive matches between11th February and 21st April. Djokovic stopped the streak in the Monte Carlo Masters Final.
  • After that loss, he embarked on a 22-match winning streak which culminated with his eighth triumph at the French Open but was stopped rather surprisingly by Darcis at the Wimbledon.
  • He had a 22 match winning run on the hard court surfaces where he won two Masters 1000 (Montreal and Cincinnati) and the US Open crown on his least favored surface.
  • He had win-loss record of 36-4 on hard-court, 39-2 on clay and a 0-1 on grass. Based on venue, he had 64-5(Outdoors) and 11-2(indoors).

Nadal with his eighth Roland Garros title







  • Brazil Open
  • Abierto Mexicano Telcel
  • BNP Paribas Open
  • Barcelona Open
  • Mutua Madrid Open
  • Internazionale BNL d’ Italia
  • Rogers Cup
  • Western & Southern Open
  • US Open


  • His triumph in Brazil on the 17th of February was his first indoor clay-court tournament
  • Rafa’s victory over Del Potro at the Indian Wells was his 600th career win.
  • He won the Barcelona title for the eighth time in nine years with a 2-set win over Almagro. He has now won his last 39 matches at the event.
  • HE has now has a record 26 ATP 1000Masters title
  • On the 9th of June, he became the first man to win the same Grand Slam eight times(FRENCH OPEN), breaking a tie with six other players at a single major.
  • His triumph at Flushing Meadows was his 13th Grand Slam. He’s moved ahead of Roy Emerson(12) to third, one behind Pete Sampras(14) and four behind leader Roger Federer(17)
  • On the 9th of September, he became the first player since Roddick in 2003 to clinch the Rogers Cup-W&S Open and the US Open trophy in one swoop.
  • On the 6th November, he clinched year-end No1 for a third time(also in 2008& 2010)
  • He was voted ATP Comeback of the Year
  • He was named ATP Player of the Year in 2013 for the third time(2008 &2010)

Rafa as he is fondly called receives his French Open from Olympic great, Usain Bolt







  • Date of Birth: 3rd of July, 1987.
  • Nationality: German
  • Team: Red Bull-Renault
  • Rank: Finished First with 397 points


  • He won the F1 Championship for the Fourth year running


  • He finished in pole position nine times.
  • He competed in nineteen races, won thirteen, finished second once and was third twice. He was on the podium sixteen out of the nineteen times he competed.
  • He had seven finish laps
  • He finished the season with a total of 397 points, 155 ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Vettel with the F1 Title







  • Youngest Quadruple Champion(2010, 2011,2012 &2013)
  • Most Championship points earned in a season-397
  • Most wins in a season-13
  • Most consecutive wins-9 (Belgian Grand Prix-Brazilian Grand Prix)
  • Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (Nominee)
  • FI driver of the Year( also in 2009 and 2011)
  • DHL Fastest Lap Award of the Year(also in2009 and 2012)

Who do you feel should be on the list that is not here?

Who is your Sportsperson of the Year 2013?

Wish everyone a great 2014.

If you want to know our number 6-10 sportspersons of the year, you can kindly check it here


Happy New Year! 2013 is gone but you’ll agree with me that it leaves behind special memories which sports lovers will savour. There was no dull moment as the football leagues, Grand Slams, Ashes Test, the PGA and LPGA season and of course the F1 season amongst others kept us glued to our T.V sets and cell phones. There were gladiators who thrilled us in their respective sports. For some of them, it was rewriting their names in history books, a couple made comebacks, rookies winning championships and others just simply unstoppable. TOUCHLINE UI recognizes 10 sportspersons who wowed us this last year , but for today we’ll look at the top five sportspersons (10-6) and complete it tomorrow with the topmost five(1-5).


  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Date of Birth: 17th day of February,1993
  • Rank: First with 334 points
  • Moto GP World Championships


  • He competed in 18 races, won 6 and was on the podium 16 times.
  • He finished in pole (Qualifying stage) 9 times
  • He had 11 finish laps

marc marquez with Moto GP World Championship


  • First rookie to win the title since Kenny Roberts since 1978.
  • Youngest rider to win the Intermediate Class and Premier Class titles back to back
  • Youngest Premier Class Champion beating Freddie Spencer’s record from 1983
  • First rookie to win four back to back races in Premier Class
  • Youngest winner of a Premier Class race-20 years, 2 months and 5 days.
  • Most wins as a rookie in Premier Class with 6.
  • Most podium finishes in rookie season of Premier Class:16
  •  Youngest winner in Premier Class, 20 years, 63 days.
  • He is one of four riders to have won the world championship in three different categories (the 2010 125cc World Championship, Moto2 World Championship and the 2013 Moto GP World Championship alongside Hailwood, Phil Read and Valentino Rossi.


  • Date of Birth:7th of April,1983
  • Position: Midfielder(Advanced)
  • Nationality: French
  • Club: Bayern Munchen


  • German Bundesliga
  • UEFA Champions League
  • European Super Cup
  • FIFA Club World Cup


2012/2013 season

  • In the league, he scored 10 goals and had 15assists in 27 matches.
  • He played a total of 55 games for club and country, found the back of the net 16 times and had a total number of 29 assists to his name.

2013/2014 season (till date)

  • In the league, he has scored 6 goals and has 9 assists in just 13matches for the German giants.
  • He has so far featured 27 times for both club and country and has 13 goals and 14 assists to his name.

frank Ribery with the UEFA Player of the Year Award


  • Highest number of assists in the 2012/2013 German Bundesliga with 15
  • He is currently on 7 assists in the 2013/2014 German Bundesliga which is the highest of any player in the league.
  • Bundesliga Player of the Year 2013
  • On the 11th of December, 2013, Ribery was named French Player of the Year.


  • Date of Birth: 23rd of March,1983
  • Nationality :British


  • He is ranked first in the men’s 10,000m with 1324 points
  • He is ranked fourth in the men’s 5000m with 1344 points
  • He is ranked 39th with a 1146 points In the men’s Road Running
  • In the overall ranking of male athletes, he is ranked 13th with 1402 points


He won gold at the World Championships, Moscow in the 5000 and 10,000m category.


Personal & Annual Best (2013)

  • On the 19th of July, 2013 in the 1500 m race at Monaco, He ran a personal best of 3minutes 28:21 seconds.
  • On the 24th of February, 2013 in London, He finished first in 7 minutes 36:85 seconds
  • On the 15th of September, 2013 in South Shields, Great  Britain, he ran a best of  1:00:10
  • His time of 3:28:21 in the 1500m race at Monaco is the best for the year 2013
  • His time of 7:36:85 in London is an annual best in the 3000m category
  • In the World Championships in Moscow, he ran an annual best of 27:21:71 in the 10,000m.
  • His time of 13:05:80 in the race in Eugene, USA is the best for the year 2013.

mo farah at the World Championships,Moscow


  • He won the double at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia taking gold in the 5000 and 10,000 m. That feat makes him the second in history to win a double in both the Olympics and World Championships.
  • He broke the European1500 m record with a time of 3:28:21.That made him the 6th fastest man over the distance. It also made him the 7th man to break both the 3.30 barrier at the 1500m and the 12 minute barrier in the 5000m.
  • He broke the national record in the half marathon, first in New Orleans on the 24th of February and then broke it in the BUPA Great Run on the 10th of September.
  • He won the Diamond League Anniversary Games in the 3000m in a time of 7minutes and 36:85 seconds.
  • He was appointed 2013 Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (C.B.E) in the 2013 New Year Honor for his services to athletics.
  • He won the British Athlete of the Year of the award for the fifth time.
  • Laureus World Athlete of the Year (Nominee).
  • IAAF World Athlete of the Year( Finalist)


  • Date of Birth:12th July,1988
  • Nationality: South Korea
  • She won the first 3 majors of the year, the Kraft Championship, the LPGA Championship and the Women’s Open. There are five majors; the others are Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. She won them by 4 strokes, Playoff and 4 strokes respectively.
  • Apart from the three majors, she also triumphed at the HONOA LPGA Thailand(by One stroke), North Texas LPGA shootout(by One stroke) , the Walmart  NW Arkansas Championship(Playoff) and the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship(Team) with Kim Ha-Neul

Inbee Park


On the 14th of April, she became the World Number one in the Women’s World GOLF Ranking

  • She won 3 consecutive majors in the 2013 season becoming the 4th LPGA Tour Player to win 3 majors in a calendar year. Others who achieved such feat are Babe Zaharias(1950), Mickey Wright (1961) and Pat Bradley(1986).
  • Her third consecutive victory for Park is a feat last accomplished on the LPGA Tour in 2008 by Lorena Ochoa of Mexico when she won four consecutive tournaments.


  • Date of Birth:30th  of December,1984
  • Nationality: American
  • Position: Forward
  • Team: Miami Heat( Eastern Conference)


  •  He won the NBA championship with his team who beat San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in 7 games in the 2012/2013 season.

le bron james with theNBA Championship and MVP Finals Award


  • In the 2012/2013 regular season, he had an average of 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
  • James notched 37 points in the 7th game as Miami Heat beat San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win the championship for a second year running.
  • He averaged 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the series and 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game in the playoff.


  • He won the Player of the month 5 times, the most of any player in the Eastern and Western Conference.
  • NBA Finals MVP(2) 2012,2013
  • NBA Most Valuable Player(4): 2009.2010, 2012 and 2013
  • All NBA First Team: 2006,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012 and 2013
  • All NBA Defensive First Team:2009,2010,20112012 and 2013
  • On the 26th of December, 2013 he won the Associated Press 2013 Male Athlete of the year(the third basketball player to win the award)
  • 2012/13 NBA Champion(2nd time after the 2011/12 triumph)