Manny Pacquiao says he is close to making a decision on whether to retire from boxing. The Filipino, 36, returned to his home country on Wednesday following defeat by Floyd Mayweather in their world welterweight super-fight on 2 May. “I will focus on healing my shoulder. After that, I will announce continuing my career or retirement,” he said. “I’m not saying I am going to retire, but it’s near. I’m already 36, turning 37 this December.” Despite a unanimous points defeat in Las Vegas, Pacquiao, a six-weight world champion, was welcomed back to the Philippines by fans as he paraded through the streets of capital city Manila on the back of a truck.
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has compared Lionel Messi to Brazil legend Pele as he backed former club Barcelona to win the Champions League. Messi inspired Barca to a 3-0 first-leg victory that Bayern could not overturn, despite a 3-2 win in the return game. “He is the best player of all time, I compare him with Pele,” said Guardiola, 44. “I hope Barca win their fifth Champions League final.” Barca will play Real Madrid or Juventus in the final in Berlin on 6 June. Brazil forward Neymar scored twice in the Allianz Arena to give the Spanish league leaders a 5-1 aggregate lead before Bayern fought back to win on the night. But Guardiola reserved his praise for Argentina skipper Messi, who turned the semi-final in Barca’s favour with a late brace at the Nou Camp last week. Messi has scored 53 goals so far this season after admitting his previous campaign, where he netted 44 times despite injuries and allegations of tax fraud, was “difficult”. “He is back, he is there where I had the privilege to train him,” said Guardiola, who – along with Messi – won 14 trophies in his four seasons in charge at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012. “He is definitely back at his best.”
Tickets for Steven Gerrard’s final home game for Liverpool this weekend are on sale for more than £1,300. On Tuesday, the prices on ticketbis.net ranged from more than £100 to £1,324.64 before the captain’s farewell against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday. Tickets at that top price in the Main Stand normally sell at £47 for what is a Category C game. Gerrard, 34, ends a 17-year career with the Reds next week at Stoke, before he moves to MLS club LA Galaxy. Reports have suggested the former England skipper will receive a guard of honour before the match against the Eagles. A win for Liverpool in their final home game would secure a Europa League spot next season. What a loyal Anfield servant Gerrard has been!