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    Arsenal’s star Maitland-Niles, up for sale for £30m, joined Gunners at six but could leave on verge of breakthrough

    IT looks like it’s all over for Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal.
    The midfielder-turned-defender endured a torrid time with the Gunners when Mikel Arteta first arrived at the club.

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    Ainsley Maitland-Niles is reportedly up for saleCredit: Alamy Live News

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    Arsenal star Maitland-Niles had appeared to have won manager Mikel Arteta overCredit: Reuters
    Out of favour, he was left out the team for reportedly turning up late to training on a number of occasions.
    But it appeared he had won back his manager’s faith, earning a spot in the Fa Cup final startling line-up against Chelsea, and starring in a 2-1 win.
    Now, the 22-year-old is said to be surplus to requirements at the Emirates, with a £30million price tag on his head.
    And that has alerted Tottenham to his availability, who could swoop to pinch the speedy star.

    His career so far has had its ups and downs.
    ARSENAL ACADEMY PRODUCT
    Born in Ilford, Maitland-Niles was mostly raised by single mother, Jules.
    “There were times their dad would help out, like playing with the kids,” she later told ViralRealLife.
    “There were also times when he wasn’t helping out in the right ways – like providing food.

    “Obviously, you can’t eat a pair of football boots.”

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    Ainsley, right, grew up in Ilford with older brother CordiCredit: Triangle News

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    He has been with Arsenal since the age of sixCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Ainsley’s passion for football took centre stage, and he soon joined Arsenal’s academy aged six.
    He dedicated his whole time to the club, slowly rising through the ranks and was called the best player in his age group by his youth coaches, according to his mum.
    In December, 2014 Maitland-Niles signed his first professional contract, but there was drama around the corner.
    JULES GET BANNED
    Jules became synonymous to Arsenal staff, but for all the wrong reasons.
    In 2015, she allegedly got into a furious bust-up with Arsenal’s former chief negotiator Dick Law at their London Colney training ground, and was said to have acted violent towards him after seeking reassurances about his future.
    She was arrested and later released without charge.
    Another time, while watching a then 17-year-old Maitland Niles in an Under-23 game, she grew animated on the sidelines and threatened to drag her son off the pitch.
    The club had seen enough, and she was banned from the training ground.

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    At 17 Maitland-Niles was playing for Arsenal’s Under-23 teamCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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    Jules Niles was banned from Arsenal’s training groundCredit: Triangle News
    MEANWHILE…
    On the pitch, things were starting to look up for Maitland-Niles.
    After making his debut aged 17 against Galatasaray in a Champions League match, a promising future beckoned.
    He was the second youngest player to appear in the competition for the Gunners, behind Jack Wilshere, and was left beaming with pride at his breakthrough.
    “I want to thank my family and God mostly for putting me here,” he told Arsenal’s website.
    When he was asked what he would do with his shirt from his first game, he revealed: “I think I’ll frame it and give it to my mum.”

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    After working his way through the youth ranks, Maitland-Niles was handed his Arsenal debut at 17Credit: Getty Images – Getty

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    Mick McCarthy called Maitland-Niles “outstanding” during his loan spell at Ipswich TownCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    ‘OUTSTANDING’
    In his early days at youth team level, and during a loan spell at Ipswich Town during the 2015-16 season, Maitland-Niles played as a winger.
    Then Town manager Mick McCarthy raved about the exciting talent.
    He said: “He’s an outstanding player. If he doesn’t end up being outstanding for Arsenal I’ll be very surprised.”
    But manager Arsene Wenger saw his attributes differently.
    “His best position is central defensive midfielder,” the legendary French boss said.
    “He has great quality, he can steal the ball without making fouls… I think he is ready to play.”
    MAKESHIFT FULL-BACK
    Versatility, most probably, ended up becoming a hindrance for Maitland-Niles.
    When injuries forced Wenger and then Unai Emery to field Maitland-Niles at both left-back and right-back, his development in midfield was put on hold.

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    Arsene Wenger converted Maitland-Niles to a full-back, but believed he had potential as a central midfield playerCredit: Getty – Contributor

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    Maitland-Niles believes he’s not a defenderCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
    “I’m not a defender.” he said before the Premier League encounter against Aston Villa last year.
    “It’s not where I would choose to put myself in the team.”
    Stepping in for Hector Bellerin, he had his worst game in an Arsenal shirt, was run ragged, until he was dismissed for a second yellow card four minutes before half-time.
    FROZEN OUT
    When Arteta took over the reigns at Arsenal, Maitland-Niles found himself warming up the bench with Bellerin’s return.
    His manager threw down the gauntlet to him.
    “(He has to) Show me every day in training that he wants it more than anyone else; he wants to play for this club and fight for his place,” Arteta said.
    But that brought an adverse reaction to the star, who was reportedly late for training one too many times for the strict boss, who demands a professional attitude from his players.
    When lockdown ended, it appeared that Maitland-Niles’ days at the club were numbered.
    However, as football often does, a reprieve was around the corner.

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    Mikel Arteta handed Maitland-Niles a reprieve and he starred in the FA Cup finalCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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    After a starring role Maitland-Niles looks set to leave ArsenalCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    A brilliant performance against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final win followed by another solid display against Watford meant he played himself into the FA Cup final starting eleven.
    And his swashbuckling runs, getting in-behind the Blues defence, were a constant threat for Frank Lampard’s team.

    Now, back in favour, the decision to sell Maitland-Niles is a strange one.
    But with 55 non-playing staff cut as the coronavirus pandemic hits Arsenal’s revenue, it’s needs-must for the Premier League giants.
    And Maitland-Niles, it appears, is the sacrifice.

    Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles reveals he was racially abused as a 12 year old during his youth career More

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    Footballers on holiday, from Alli, Maddison, Grealish and Sancho in Ibiza to Ronaldo in Portofino and Rooney in Barbados

    AFTER a long, hard season footballers love to unwind – just like the rest of us.
    With their mega salaries they are able to jet off to some of the most glamorous locations in the world.

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    The likes of Wayne Rooney, Dele Alli, Cristiano Ronaldo and more have shared snaps on social media soaking up the sun in these dream destinations.
    But where did they all go?
    ALLI, GREALISH, SANCHO AND MADDISON
    While some holidaymakers are shunning Spain after a spike in coronavirus cases, Dele Alli, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and James Maddison are lapping up the attention in Ibiza.
    Spurs star Alli and Aston Villa hero Grealish were seen enjoying a couple of cold drinks with their female companions.

    While Alli and Maddison were spied hanging out at O Beach Club a previous evening.
    Separately, Sancho was seen enjoying time on a yacht with a mystery brunette.
    The Manchester United target also wasn’t slacking on his fitness, running shirtless and pumping some iron during his trip.

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    Dele Alli and James Maddison have been hanging about in IbizaCredit: Instagram

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    Jadon Sancho poses with Chuba Akpom on his way to IbizaCredit: Instagram / @cakpom
    CRISTIANO RONALDO
    The Juventus forward might still be smarting from missing out on winning the Serie A Golden Boot, but at least he’s having a lovely holiday.

    Ronaldo is topping up his tan in beautiful Portofino, Italy, with his family and gorgeous missus Georgina Rodriguez.
    They’ve taken their new super-yacht for a spin in the Mediterranean Sea.
    And they also enjoyed a lavish dinner with friends at the expensive Langosteria Paraggi restaurant.
    Missing out on that Golden Boot doesn’t seem so bad now.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo and family are enjoying the sights of Med on a new luxury yachtCredit: Instagram / @cristiano

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    The Ronaldo clan have been relaxing on board their yacht
    ROONEY AND MINGS
    Wayne Rooney has whisked off wife Coleen after her ‘Wagatha Christie’ worries to Barbados.
    The pair are staying in a luxury £25,000-per-week five-bedroom mansion complete with an infinity pool.
    And they’ve found time to enjoy a romantic boat ride too.
    Aston Villa star Tyrone Mings has been toasting saving his side from Premier League relegation enjoying some time in Barbados.
    The towering defender, another Manchester United target, even showed his love for watersports – hopping on a jet ski.

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    Coleen and Wayne Rooney spent the day on board a luxury boat in Barbados Credit: Instagram
    RONALDO
    The Brazilian legend has been soaking up the sun with his girlfriend Celina Locks on a yacht in Spain.
    They are enjoying the delights of Formentera, the smallest of the Balearic islands.
    And Ronaldo, who hung up his boots in 2011 after suffering with hypothyroidism, looked healthier than ever in his swimming shorts thanks to a new fitness regime.
    He even took time to make a splash in the sea.

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    Ronaldo is enjoying his holiday off the Balearic islands
    JOHN TERRY
    With his favourite holiday destination Dubai probably being too hot right now, JT and his missus Toni jetted off to Portugal.
    And they did it in some style, evading the travel ban by taking a private jet to the Algarve with a glass of champagne in hand.
    They romantically drank wine and enjoyed the sunset at Maria’s Restaurant & Beach.
    Terry will be dining out on helping Aston Villa maintain their Premier League status, no doubt.

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    John Terry and wife Toni travelled in styleCredit: Instagram / @toniterry26

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    The Terrys took a private jet to PortugalCredit: Instagram / @johnterry.26

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    They have rented a stunning villa in the AlgarveCredit: Instagram / @johnterry.26

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    Terry is the captain of his own boat
    WILFRIED ZAHA
    The in-demand Crystal Palace forward will be checking his phone constantly on his holiday.
    Linked to Arsenal and Manchester United, his agent might have some trouble getting through to him in Dubai.
    Zaha is braving the sweltering heat of the Middle East, where it can reach 45C this time of year, and rented a boat with girlfriend Paige Bannister.
    They were pictured on a yacht in front of the Burj Al Arab hotel.

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    Wilfried Zaha is on holiday with girlfriend Paige Bannister
    CHILWELL AND DRINKWATER
    Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been lapping up the hot weather in Mykonos, Greece.
    And he’s found himself a travel buddy in former Leicester City team-mate Ben Chilwell.
    The Foxes left-back has been linked with a summer move to the Blues, and hanging out with a Blues star just adds fuel to the fire.

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    Danny Drinkwater and Ben Chilwell have been hanging out in MykonosCredit: Instagram @dannydrinkwater
    DANNY INGS
    The Southampton striker enjoyed his best season in front of goal, netting 22 times last term to finish behind leading scorer Jamie Vardy.
    So, he treated himself to a trip to the Amalfi Coast, Italy, where he seems to be living his best life.
    Brilliant meals, check, a glass of wine, check, and lots of snazzy summer shirts.

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    Danny Ings shows off his tan on the Amalfi CoastCredit: Instagram
    MANUEL LANZINI
    Another footballer who has taken a short flight to Portugal is West Ham’s Argie star.
    Lanzini is enjoying Faro in the Algarve, Portugal, with his beautiful missus Jennifer Reina.
    The pair relaxed on a boat, before the midfielder proposed to the make-up artist and photographer on a cliff overlooking the sea.
    They’ve also enjoyed some time in Positano, like Cristiano Ronaldo and family.
    And they aren’t the only couple to have got engaged this summer.

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    Manuel Lanzini and fiancee Jennifer Reina pose for a snap in PositanoCredit: Instagram

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    The loved-up pair got engaged in Faro, PortugalCredit: Instagram

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    Jennifer Reina shows off her sparkling diamond ring
    NATHAN AKE
    The Manchester City-bound Dutch defender and his beautiful Wag Kaylee Ramman also got engaged.
    Ake, 25, got down on one knee in the Nice in the South of France – sharing the romantic snaps on social media.
    Immediately, they were congratulated by Premier League stars, including Jermaine Defoe, Diego Rico, Jack Wilshere, and Jamal Blackman.
    They’ll soon be celebrating a move north – to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City

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    Nathan Ake proposed to Kaylee Ramman on their holidayCredit: https://www.instagram.com/nathanake/

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    Kaylee has been lapping up the sun in Nice, France with AkeCredit: Instagram @kayleerm_
    JAMIE VARDY
    Vardy and his missus Rebekah, the other half of the Wagatha Christie chronicles, are also enjoying some sun away.
    They’re in Ibiza, well they’ve been seen cuddling in the sea and putting their troubles behind them.
    The Vardy family later enjoyed a trip on a speed boat, as they explored the island.

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    The Vardys have been tucking into the local cuisine in Ibiza

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    Rebekah Vardy shared an image of the pair enjoying sunset
    CHAMBERS AND HOLDING
    The Arsenal defensive pair will be celebrating the club’s recent FA Cup success.
    And they’ve picked the best place to do it, on the Greek island of Mykonos.
    They’ve hung out together, while Chambers has been stepping up his recovery from injury.
    The former Southampton man was seen doing some weight-lifting with a stunning backdrop behind him.

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    Rob Holding is in Mykonos, GreeceCredit: Instagram / @rholding95

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    Callum Chambers has met up with Holding in Mykonos when he’s not been pumping iron
    LAMELA, LO CELSO AND DIER
    Like the Arsenal duo, Spurs pair Lamela and Lo Celso are also on holiday together.
    The trio have chosen Ibiza, like Vardy, but will have to adhere to the strict quarantine rules
    For 14 days they’ll have to remain in quarantine, when they return.
    But they don’t look like they mind that.

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    Spurs Argie pair Lo Celso and Lamela cook some meat on a barbecue in Ibiza
    FRED
    Manchester United midfielder Fred has taken wife Monique Salum to Turkey for the pre-season break.
    The 27-year-old took to social media to upload a sweet image of the family, with their son Benjamin at The Land of Legends hotel in Belek.
    There they can enjoy sandy beaches, thermal spas and a host of golf courses.

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    Fred is enjoying his downtime in TurkeyCredit: Instagram / @moniquesalum
    JOSE MOURINHO
    The Tottenham manager is back in his homeland.
    Mourinho is in the Algarve with his family, including daughter Matilde, who was in Marbella last week without ‘The Special One’.
    He has a house in Ferragudo, Lagoa, where they regularly take their holidays.
    So far on their trip they’ve been dolphin watching.

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    Jose Mourinho is dolphin watching in his native PortugalCredit: Instagram matildefmf

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    Matilde Mourinho joined her dad in Portugal after spending time in MarbellaCredit: Instagram matildefmf
    ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN
    What a season it’s been for the former Arsenal midfielder.
    Now a Premier League winner, he and his Little Mix missus Perrie Edwards are in Ibiza.
    They were spotted eating out at the lavish Cala Bassa Beach Club with a convoy of pals.
    Will the Ox follow in Ake and Lanzini’s footsteps by popping the question? Watch this space.
    XHERDAN SHAQIRI
    The Swiss international and Liverpool star is another who swears by Spain.
    Winger Shaqiri is also in Formentera with pals, where he’s hired a boat.

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    Liverpool Premier League-winner Shaqiri is in Formentera

    And the Premier League-winner might want to invest in some suntan lotion.
    Pictures showed the former Bayern Munich star sporting a rather lobster-like colour.
    Some might say, it matches the shirt he wears.

    Leicester star James Maddison tries to kiss a girl on Ibiza holiday More

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    Meet Europe’s top goalscorer Ciro Immobile’s stunning Wag Jessica Melena who studied criminology and always plays pranks

    CIRO Immobile certainly has much to cheer about.
    The Lazio hitman beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the European Golden Shoe – netting an incredible 36 goals in Serie A this season.

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    Meet glamorous Italian Wag Jessica MelenaCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Jessica is married to Europe’s top scorer Ciro Immobile Credit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    A complete prankster, Melena has been with Immobile since 2012Credit: Instagram / @jessicamelena
    And off the pitch, he’s one half Italy’s most glamorous couple with Wag Jessica Melena.
    The pair met in 2012 when Immobile, 30, was plying his trade at lowly Pescara on-loan from Juventus.
    They married a few years later, and now have three children together.
    Like Immobile, Jessica is nimble with her feet – once showing off her beach football skills with her husband.

    She’s also a complete prankster.
    LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
    Ciro and Jessica met at a restaurant and immediately fell in love.
    Within a week, they were living together and the striker made his intentions clear.
    Jessica revealed: “On the third day [after meeting] he wrote to me in a message: ‘You will be the mother of my children…’

    “I said that I thought it was a bit strong, but then soon after he kept his promise. His were true words.”

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    It was love at first sight for Immobile when he met Jessica at a restaurantCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Within a week Melena and Immobile were living togetherCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Jessica had dreams of becoming a forensic scientistCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Melena fell pregnant after six months dating Immobile and gave up her studiesCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Jessica is Immobile’s NO1 supporterCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena
    DREAMS OF CSI
    When Jessica met Immobile, she had aspirations of working in crime scene investigations.
    Fascinated by the US CSI TV shows, she studied criminology and forensic sciences at the University of L’Aquila.
    However, when she met Immobile things changed.
    She fell pregnant within six months, quit her studies and moved with him to Genoa.
    They married in 2014 in Buccianico, Jessica’s hometown in the province of Chieti.
    GREAT FEET
    Back in 2018, holidaymakers in the Maldives were treated to a skills exhibition from Jessica and Ciro enjoying a kickabout on the beach.
    The loved-up pair indulged in a spot of keepie uppies, thrilling the locals.
    A bronzed Jessica used her knee and feet, knocking the ball towards her footballer beau.

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    Like her husband, Melena is nimble with her feetCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Melena boasts some cracking football skillsCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Travelling is one of Melena’s favourite hobbiesCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena
    She even pulled of Zinedine Zidane’s signature ‘roulette’ move – showing she has great feet.
    TOTAL PRANKSTER
    Football loves its jokers.
    And at home, Immobile has one in his missus.
    Jessica teamed up with Italian TV show Scherzi a Parte, which translates to Jokes Aside, to pull the wool over Immobile’s eyes.
    In the skit, she took delivery of a dozen heart-shaped balloons and pretended they were from him.
    But soon the pair got into an argument, with Ciro demanding to know who sent them.
    So incensed, he rang his mum to tell her about it all.
    After that, Jessica revealed all causing Ciro all sorts of embarrassment.

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    Jessica pranked Immobile on an Italian TV showCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    On Instagram Melena has over 945,000 followersCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Fans are drawn to Jessica’s Wag lifestyleCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena
    BEACH SCARE
    Being one of Italy’s glamour romances has its drawbacks, and can leave you open to getting robbed.
    While Ciro and Jessica were enjoying some time at the beach in Pescara with their family, they were approached by a man wielding a knife.
    Jessica said: “Ciro remained impassive, but I was very scared.
    “Fortunately, the little girls were asleep… it was clear from his eyes that he was under something.
    “At one point, he pulled out a small knife. He [sparked] a bit of panic.
    “I think that gentleman was not well.”
    PLAY WITH ME, INSTEAD
    If there’s one thing Jessica doesn’t like about Ciro it’s his love of gaming.
    The Italian beauty often shares pics of herself on Instagram lurking in the background while her husband is clutching onto his PlayStation controller.

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    When Immobile is on his PlayStation, Jessica plays second fiddleCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Jessica jokingly plays along with Immobile’s PlayStation obsessionCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

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    Melina will be toasting Immobile’s success as Europe’s top scorerCredit: Instagram / @jessicamelena

    Appearing bored, she just hates being ignored while he plays another game on FIFA.
    Even a silly dance won’t distract him from his screen.
    But at least she sees the funny side.

    Lazio striker Ciro Immobile’s hot WAG performs a sexy dance around him to get his attention More

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    The craziest contract demands revealed, including no space travel, weight clauses and cooking lessons

    PLAYERS are valuable commodities.
    So when they thrash out contracts with the world’s biggest clubs, it’s important to get everything right and nothing’s left to chance.

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    SunSport looks back at seven of the wackiest stipulations requested to and by players.
    But there are times when stipulations are put in place by player and club to protect their interests, to let them fulfil their hobbies, or managers just don’t trust them.
    SunSport looks back at the wackiest requested to and by players.
    Robert Lewandowski the outdoor adventurer
    When the Polish forward was at Borussia Dortmund in the last year of his contract Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were jostling for his signature.
    And in leaked documents, Real Madrid’s offer seemed lucrative.

    Alongside a £166,000-per-week deal and a £10million signing-on fee were several requests they didn’t want daredevil Lewandowski to do while he was their property.
    Skiing, paragliding, climbing, going on a motorboat and even riding a motorbike were big ‘no-nos’ for Real Madrid’s hierarchy… so that’s why signed for Bayern.

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    Robert Lewandowski couldn’t ski, paraglide or doing anything daring if he signed for Real MadridCredit: AFP
    Giuseppe Reina toyed with

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    Giuseppe Reina in action for Arminia Bielefeld, who only joined under strict circumstances
    WHEN negotiating a contract, it’s important to be 100 per cent clear about what is being stipulated.
    When German forward Reina moved to Arminia Bielefeld in 1996, he demanded the club build him a house for every year of his contract.

    The club accepted.
    However, Reina didn’t specify what size he required.
    And Arminia provided him with a house made of Lego for the next three years.
    Fernando Redondo gets locked out

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    Fernando Redondo’s long hair cost him his international career
    FORMER Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder was excluded from Argentina’s 1998 World Cup squad for a bizarre reason.
    Manager Daniel Passarella had refused to pick homosexuals or players with earrings and long hair.
    Redondo was ‘guilty’ of the latter.
    He said: “I was in great form. But Passarella had particular ideas about discipline and wanted me to have my hair cut.
    “I didn’t see what that had to do with playing football so I said no.”
    Rolf-Christel Guie-Mien cooks up a treat

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    Rolf-Christel Guie-Mien made it very clear to his wife he kitchen skills needed improvement
    CONGOLESE midfielder moved from Karlsruher to Eintracht Frankfurt in 1999.
    However, he had one simple request: that his new club pay for his wife to have cooking lessons.
    We’re not sure Mrs Guie-Mien took too kindly to this demand.
    Though, she was not available for comment at the time.
    Stefan Schwarz brought down to Earth

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    Stefan Schwarz is presented as a Sunderland player, alongside Peter Reid
    THE SWEDE moved to Sunderland in 1999 — but the Wearsiders had one stipulation the former Arsenal man had to adhere to.
    Schwarz was told that any potential flights into space would not be tolerated.
    The Black Cats chief exec John Flicking said at the time: “One of Schwarz’s advisers has, indeed, got one of the places on the commercial flights [into space, due to take place in 2002].
    “And we were worried that he may wish to take Stefan along with him. So we thought we’d better get things tied up now rather than at the time of the flight.”
    In fact, rather than managing to go up, his career ended when Sunderland went down in 2003.
    Neil Ruddock weighed down

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    Neil Ruddock has never been one of the slimmest footballer
    THE former defender once admitted to eating 212 steak and kidney pies every year.
    And Crystal Palace were advised Ruddock did come with some extra baggage when they signed him on a free in 2000.
    Ex-Eagles chairman Simon Jordan wrote in his autobiography: “On approaching West Ham I discovered he was a free transfer, although he did have a weighty salary — which was not the only weighty thing about him.
    “Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager at the time, told me to put in a weight clause.
    “So I decided to put a 10 per cent penalty on the contract we were proposing to offer him if he was over the recommended weight of 99.8kg, which by the way was still frigging huge.”
    Ruddock’s Palace debut was allegedly delayed because the club couldn’t find a pair of shorts big enough for him.
    Driving a Honda

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    Keisuke Honda signed for Brazilian side Botafogo – but only after an unusual request was grantedCredit: AFP or licensors
    MORE recently Japanese legend Keisuke Honda joined Botafogo.
    But moving to Brazil’s crime-ridden city of Rio de Janeiro had the midfielder fearing for his safety.
    So he stipulated he would need an ARMOURED VEHICLE as part of the deal.
    More incredibly, Botafogo agreed. More

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    Hulk is bodybuilder footballer who ditched his wife to be with her gorgeous niece and now wants Premier League transfer

    HE really is incredible.
    Brazilian star Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, better known as Hulk because of his bodybuilder appearance and being a Lou Ferrigno lookalike, has enjoyed a well-travelled career.

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    Hulk is attracting interest from the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty – Contributor

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    The Brazilian international is now married to his ex-wife’s niece

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    The Brazilian got his nickname because of his resemblance to bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who played The Incredible HulkCredit: Getty – Contributor
    After beginning his career in his homeland, the well-built forward has played in Japan, Portugal, Russia, and is now making a mint in China.
    At Shanghai SIPG he earned a whopping £16.6million-per-year, and was one of the Chinese Super League’s marquee signings in 2016.
    But now, with his contract coming to an end, Hulk is ready to come to the Premier League and reportedly has several offers to show off his talents in England.
    At 34 he’s never looked better, and after lockdown he showed off a remarkable body transformation with a more defined look.

    And back in March, Hulk caused controversy when he ditched his wife and married her stunning niece.
    KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY
    Last year, the burly striker ended his 12-year relationship with ex-missus Iran Angelo.
    Five months later, reports linked Hulk to her beautiful niece Camila Angelo, 31.
    That relationship is now said to have started in October of 2019, and in March the former Porto striker wrote on his social media bio he was “married” again.

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    Hulk divorced his wife of 12 years Iran Angelo, left, and began dating her beautiful niece Camila Angelo months later

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    The pair have posted several pictures wearing what looks like wedding rings

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    Angelo and Hulk have never confirmed their nuptials

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    According to reports, Hulk married Angelo so she could get a visa to stay in China
    The couple have posted several pictures together since wearing what appear to be wedding rings, but never confirmed their nuptials.
    Argentine newspaper Infobae later revealed “sudden marriage was also due to” the fact Camila “needed a visa to stay in the country (China)”.

    Brazil star Hulk ‘marries his ex-wife’s stunning niece in whirlwind ceremony to get visa and stay together in China’
    THE BIG MAN
    When Hulk first emerged on the scene in Europe with Porto, his staggering size always stood out on the football pitch.
    He was renowned for being built like an ox, and it was impossible to shrug him off the ball because of his strength.
    In China, especially during the lockdown period, he seems to have become supersized.
    Fans were left agasp when he returned to training with Shanghai SIPG somehow looking even more muscular.
    Hulk shared video and pics of himself staying fit by hitting his home gym.
    And the benefits were there for all to see.

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    Hulk was always renowned for his huge physiqueCredit: Getty – Contributor

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    The beefy forward was a hulking presence

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    Today’s Hulk is more defined
    HE’S GOT GOALS
    The misconception of Hulk is that he’s a novelty footballer, because of his gargantuan size.
    However, as they say, never judge a book by its cover.
    Capped 47 times by Brazil, he’s scored 11 international goals – playing mostly as a winger.
    His career took off in Japan’s second division with Tokyo Verdy in 2007, before he moved to Porto in 2008.
    It took him two seasons to find his feet in Portugal, and there was bother along the way.
    Following a tunnel brawl during a 1-0 league loss to fierce rivals Benfica, Hulk was suspended for four games.
    But in the 2010-11 season he began to push on. 35 goals in 53 games during Porto’s treble year, in which they also lifted the Europa League, elevated him to new heights.
    Trouble still followed him wherever he went, in 2014 he was forced to pay £42,000 fine for assaulting two stewards.

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    Hulk made his name in Europe at PortoCredit: PA:Empics Sport

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    Hulk went to Russia to play with Zenit Saint Petersburg after PortoCredit: PA:Empics Sport

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    In 2016 he became one of the world’s highest paid players joining Shanghai SIPGCredit: Rex Features
    PREMIER LEAGUE INTEREST
    It’s not a surprise that Hulk has been linked to a move to the Premier League, with his status as a free agent approaching soon.
    Before he moved to Zenit Saint Petersburg, he revealed Chelsea were interested in adding him to their squad.
    “In my first season at Porto, I started well and remember hearing some talk about Manchester United, but I never received anything concrete on that,” he told FourFourTwo.
    “At the time, I was too young and left those things for other people to sort out, so I didn’t get to know which offers arrived.
    “Only after I signed for Zenit was I told Chelsea had been interested, but I can’t tell you how serious they were.”
    HE’LL COST MEGA WAGES
    Although clubs will be enticed by the fact there’s no transfer fee for Hulk, he won’t come cheap.
    His salary is said to be in the region of £320,000-per-week – making him the second highest paid player in China. The first is former Chelsea star Oscar on an astonishing £400,000-per-week.

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    Hulk stands outside his private jet, which bears the striker’s signature on the outsideCredit: Instagram @hulkparaiba

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    Inside the aircraft there are sketches of the Brazilian scoring goals throughout his careerCredit: Instagram @hulkparaiba

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    At 34 Hulk still has lots to offer amid Premier League interest
    And he lives some life off the pitch, as you can imagine.
    In 2018, he was pictured on board his own private jet, which featured his signature on the side.

    Inside, the cabin was decorated with his own image.
    Hulk is also a keen art collector, spending his wages on rare paintings by renowned artists.
    The runway is clear for his arrival on our shores. More

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    Lucky Tyson Fury should have lost his unbeaten fight record to railway worker John McDermott in his early years

    TYSON FURY is back on top in heavyweight boxing – but it could have been very different.
    The Gypsy King completed a sensational comeback in the sport when he battered Deontay Wilder back in February to win the WBC world title.

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    Tyson Fury had a tough night against John McDermott back in 2009 – but somehow managed to get a wide points winCredit: Rex Features
    [embedded content]
    It handed the American his first professional defeat, and also maintained his own unbeaten record.
    But back in 2009 Fury managed to keep that 0 in his losses column when he came up against slugger John McDermott.
    Fury was heralded as one of British boxing’s best talents having blitzed seven opponents in quick time.
    His team decided to step things up against ‘Big Bad’ McDermott, with the English title on the line.

    McDermott went in to the bout on the back of two losses against Danny Williams, but his 30-fight record included many KOs that would test out the new golden boy’s chin.
    And while no stoppage came for either boxer, McDermott had seemingly put the skids on Fury’s blossoming career with a messy points win.

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    Tyson Fury was the 1/6 favourite against John McDermott – but the fight didnt play out like thatCredit: Rex Features

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    Going into the later rounds Team McDermott were in confident moodCredit: Rex Features
    It was far from a spectacular performance. But McDermott snaffled and bullied the younger man, with Fury, the 1/6 favourite on the night, left relying on distance flurries.
    Going into the final round Fury’s corner were heard telling their man that he was behind on points and needed a grandstand finish – that never came.

    Referee Terry O’Connor saw things differently and somehow scored it 98-92 to Fury.
    It led to McDermott’s promoter at the time, Frank Maloney, now Kellie Maloney, slamming O’Connor as a “disgrace to boxing”.
    Guardian writer Kevin Mitchell pulled no punches in his assessment of the result, saying at the time that he “cannot remember a worse decision in the sport”.
    He wrote that Fury “got away with a robbery of the highway variety” and that the boxing community “were left outraged by the decision”.

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    It was Tyson Fury and his team who were left celebrating at the end of the 10-rounderCredit: Rex Features

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    Tyson Fury said after the controversial points win that he would have retired if he had lostCredit: Rex Features

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    Basildon boxer McDermott could barely believe the referee’s decisionCredit: Rex Features
    Boxing legend Jim Watt was commentating for Sky Sports, and his scorecard gave it to McDermott by two rounds, 96-94 with Fury only coming close after winning the final two.
    McDermott was crestfallen as he gave his post-fight interview ringside.
    He said: “What have I got to do to win it? I’m a nice gentle guy, he’s the one with the big mouth and I’ve been penalised for it.”
    Fury, 21 at the time, said that he thought he had won it, and admitted that he “would have retired” if he had lost the fight.
    The rematch was inevitable, and as luck would have it Fury came in a year later a different beast and knocked McDermott down three times on the way to a ninth-round stoppage.
    But the controversy of that first clash still lingers, with McDermott even claiming Tyson’s dad John admitted to him that his son had “lost the fight”.

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    John McDermott and his then-promoter Frank, now Kellie, Maloney could not believe the decisionCredit: Sky Sports

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    Basildon boxer McDermott believed his ‘face did not fit’ and thats why Fury got the points winCredit: Sky Sports
    Speaking to Sky Sports, the Basildon ex-boxer, who now works on the railways fixing overhead cables, admits the result still “annoys” him.
    He said: “I’m not saying I would have gone on to fight for the world title but it would have helped me, at the time.
    “A bit more money when there wasn’t much money in boxing. He’s a millionaire now and I’m struggling.
    “They thought I’d be an easy fight. They didn’t think I could dig deep.
    “I remember walking up to the punch bag and my trainer drew a line at 6’9” and said: ‘This is how tall Tyson Fury is’. I remember thinking: ‘How am I going to hit the bloke?’
    “I thought the judges were scoring it. But people were booing and I saw the referee holding Fury’s hand up. It’s just madness, I don’t know what happened. How can he score it 8-2?”

    CHEESE GREATER
    Cheeseman beats Eggington in brilliant, brutal war at Hearn’s Fight Camp

    IT’S ALL IN THE HEAD
    Mike Tyson claims ‘ego is f***ing with him’ ahead of comeback fight

    Revealed

    TY-ME IS UP
    Tyson Fury named ahead of Anthony Joshua in Ring Magazine’s top 10 heavyweights

    IRON MAN
    Roy Jones Jr thinks Mike Tyson, 54, is ‘still just as dangerous as ever’

    FOUGHT KNOX
    Inside Wilder’s £1m Alabama mansion with lake view, hot tub & iconic panic room

    After the rematch McDermott, now 40 , only had four more fights before retiring on a victory against Matt Skelton in 2013.
    Fury, 31, meanwhile has completed a real fairytale by dethroning Wilder and putting himself in a prime position to become undisputed heavyweight king.
    But things could have panned out very differently had the contentious result of 2009 been reversed.

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    Tyson Fury is on top of the heavyweight boxing world while John McDermott is fixing up the railwaysCredit: Reuters

    Tyson Fury says ‘you never get bored of beating Deontay Wilder up’ as he longs for trilogy after coronavirus crisis ends More

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    Inside the Matchroom mansion, Eddie Hearn’s former home converted into an office with a gym, pool, and helipad

    THE Matchroom HQ in Essex is where boxing promoter Eddie Hearn makes all his key decisions.
    Originally bought by his dad Barry around 30 years ago, it’s was the family’s former house before it became the home of boxing, snooker and darts.

    The stunning Matchroom HQ where Eddie Hearn conducts his businessCredit: https://www.instagram.com/eddiehearn/

    Eddies dad Barry Hearn bought the property for £200,000Credit: Rex Features
    Then, it cost Hearn Sr a meagre £200,000 – and was an upgrade from the Dagenham council house he grew up in.
    The property boasts a gym and swimming pool, which Hearn’s staff and pool of fighters can use.
    While in the lush expansive garden, you’ll find a helipad and occasionally a boxer working out with pads or going for a run.
    Join SunSport for a tour inside.

    LEISURE COMPLEX
    Matchroom HQ isn’t just a place where Hearn meets his fighters, conducts media days and draws out his plans for boxing domination.
    It’s also a place that boasts a leisure complex, in which fighters can exercise with their trainers.
    “The key to a healthy mind is a healthy body,” Hearn told The Daily Mail.
    “We’ve got a pool and a gym upstairs, where the fighters come in for meetings, can have some sessions with their trainers and do some strength work in the pool.

    Originally, the Hearns lived in the stately home

    The leisure complex features a pool Hearn’s stable of fighters and staff take advantage ofCredit: Talksport

    Fight posters dominate Matchroom HQs officeCredit: Talksport

    Artwork from the first Froch v Groves fight sits pride of place in Hearn’s officeCredit: Talksport
    “This pool has been used by a number of great fighters over the years – Chris Eubank, Jim McDonnell, and Darren Barker.
    “It’s great to have this facility here, not only for our staff and our employers and our team, but also for our team of fighters.”
    INCREDIBLE GROUNDS
    Surrounding the stately property are some stunning grounds.
    It’s where Anthony Joshua and Co. love to go for a run, and even some outdoor pad work.
    “There’s some great runs in the forest,” Hearn revealed.
    “Many fighters have been seen through the years doing many a circuit.
    “In the summertime, actually, a lot of them come out here and do their pad work, circuits and strength work.
    “It’s a great feel and great to have the fighters here, when they are around.”

    Barry and Eddie Hearn pose in the lush gardensCredit: Action Images – Reuters

    Eddie Hearn is effectively in charge of the business these daysCredit: � Will Wintercross / eyevine.

    Dotted around Matchroom HQ are photographs of Hearn’s fighters’ most impressive momentsCredit: TalkSport
    THEY’VE COME A LONG WAY
    Eddie’s dad Barry has come a long way since his own childhood.
    He came from a Dagenham council estate, but made good as a promoter for the likes of Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Lennox Lewis.
    Although Eddie is effectively in charge of the business these days, Barry still has the better office.
    “This was the house my dad bought about 30 years ago,” he told TalkSport.
    “He was from a council house in Dagenham, did well, and this was his first major purchase.
    “I grew up here, so we feel great here and it’s been very good to us.
    “He paid two hundred grand for it at the time. Looks like a good investment now, but more than the money this has been a very lucky place for us.
    “We’re big believers in that and luck.”

    Self-confessed boxing fanatic Hearn collects the gloves of his fightersCredit: TalkSport

    Barry Hearn came from a Dagenham council estate before he made his millionsCredit: Rex Features

    Fittingly, Barry still has the better officeCredit: Rex Features
    FIGHT ISLAND
    Like Dana White has done with the UFC, Eddie has created his own ‘Fight Island’ to stage boxing matches.
    However, his plans are more personal. Hearn is turning the mansion’s garden into a fighting arena, with events starting from August 1.
    Hearn said: “Our project restart is about staging live boxing from the garden there with a canopy.
    “You’ve heard of Madison Square Garden and this is the new garden.
    “We talked about doing boxing in studios and there’s a lot of people doing it. I just feel like when you are talking about a gladiatorial sport, like boxing, you need to create that moment, that energy, not just for the viewer at home but the fighter as well.
    “We’ve got big plans. It looks fantastic. There’s still a long way to go. I think it’s 90 per cent for us. Anything could happen at any time.
    HOW IT’LL WORK
    And Hearn has really thought it through.
    “There’s a hotel at the bottom of the road that we will take over. On the Wednesday, before the Saturday, everybody will turn up. Fighters, Sky team, corners, our team will all be tested at a facility,” he continued.

    Eddie Hearn has bold plans for boxing the boxing coronavirus pandemicCredit: Talksport

    Hearn is staging boxing fights from the Matchroom HQ gardenCredit: https://www.instagram.com/eddiehearn/

    Hearn showed off his plans on social mediaCredit: https://www.instagram.com/eddiehearn/
    “You don’t enter the hotel specifically, you enter a side building and you get tested and then you get your key, go into your room and don’t leave until you get the results.

    CHEESE GREATER
    Cheeseman beats Eggington in brilliant, brutal war at Hearn’s Fight Camp

    IT’S ALL IN THE HEAD
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    IRON MAN
    Roy Jones Jr thinks Mike Tyson, 54, is ‘still just as dangerous as ever’

    Revealed

    TY-ME IS UP
    Tyson Fury named ahead of Anthony Joshua in Ring Magazine’s top 10 heavyweights

    Comment

    COLIN HART
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    ROARING BACK
    Joshua warns Tyson, 54, not to fight ‘young lions’ ahead of Jones Jr comeback

    FOUGHT KNOX
    Inside Wilder’s £1m Alabama mansion with lake view, hot tub & iconic panic room

    “Once you get a negative results, you are allowed into Matchroom Fight Camps. We create a sterile environment. No one is allowed to interact with anyone from outside fight camp during that period.
    “The problem with this virus is people are still learning. We are having a dozen calls a day with doctors and testing facilities. It’s such a mountain to climb.
    “We are going to be having around 90 people on site and everyone will be tested before they go into the facility.”

    Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn talks about future fights after coronavirus lockdown More

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    ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson’s former £1.5m Las Vegas mansion used in The Hangover has an infinity pool, two spas and a waterfall

    THIS is the house where Mike Tyson became a Hollywood star.
    In 2008, the 53-year-old former heavyweight champion let movie director Todd Phillips and his cameras into a stunning mansion he lived in with wife No3 Lakika.

    Inside Mike Tyson’s former £1.5m Las Vegas mansion used in The HangoverCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    The gorgeous property has an infinity pool with two spas and a waterfallCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas
    They filmed hilarious scenes from cult movie The Hangover, in a cameo that would go on to define him and rebuild his career after years of bankruptcy.
    Found in the beautiful gated community called Seven Hills in the suburb of Henderson, it boasts six bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms, and its own private balcony.
    And golf enthusiasts will enjoy the incredible 18-hole Rio Secco Golf Club, as well as four large private parks filled with basketball courts, tennis courts and football pitches.
    ITALIAN-STYLE
    Like many new builds in Las Vegas within gated communities, the 5,740-square-feet mansion was built in an Italian style in 2001.

    Two-storeys in size, the entrance opens to a grand reception room with a 25-foot-high lit waterfall, which connects to the great room that has a wet bar and fireplace.
    You can imagine the great room is perfect for lounging, and where cannabis-advocate Tyson may possibly enjoy an occasional smoke.

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    Hit movie The Hangover starrring Bradley Cooper was filmed in Tyson’s houseCredit: Warner Bros

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    Mike Tyson in 2009 hit movie The HangoverCredit: Kobal Collection – Rex Features
    The living room has vaulted ceilings and walls of windows that offer plenty of natural light.
    Completing the look is a family room with a moon-shaped wet bar.

    While a centre-island kitchen has a another wet bar, and a wine cellar.
    For those chilly desert evenings, the home has four fireplaces.
    There’s also a garage for space for four cars.

    There are six-and-a-half bathroomsCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    The Italian-style property was built in 2001Credit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    A 25 foot waterfall awaits you in the front entranceCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    The kitchen boasts a centre islandCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    The mansion is two-storeys in sizeCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    The great room could be cannabis advocate Tyson’s smoking roomCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas
    OUTSIDE SPACE
    The sprawling property also has plenty of outside space.
    There’s a huge pool should ‘Iron Mike’ fancy taking a dip.
    In total, the garden boasts an infinity pool with two spas and a waterfall, as well as a large patio area, featuring a fire pit, BBQ area, bar area and pool bathroom.

    ROARING BACK
    Joshua warns Tyson, 54, not to fight ‘young lions’ ahead of Jones Jr comeback

    Revealed

    TY-ME IS UP
    Tyson Fury named ahead of Anthony Joshua in Ring Magazine’s top 10 heavyweights

    Comment

    COLIN HART
    Tyson vs Jones Jr should NOT be sanctioned… somebody could get seriously hurt

    ‘REFRIGERATOR WON’
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    WILD CLAIM
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    FIGHTING FIT
    Watch incredible time-lapse video of Matchroom Fight Camp coming together

    FIGHTING TALK
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    FOUGHT KNOX
    Inside Wilder’s £1m Alabama mansion with lake view, hot tub & iconic panic room

    Movie fans will remember Zach Galifianakis urinating in it in The Hangover.
    However, it’s the 18-hole golf course that’s shared with other residents in the private community, as well as four large parks that have basketball courts and football pitches that make it a scenic surrounding.
    Tyson and Lakika have lived in Henderson, Nevada since 2008, moving to a property nearby in 2016. But she won’t be happy if the ‘Wolf Pack’ pop round, mind.

    The property boasts a total of four fireplacesCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    Large windows mean the property has plenty of natural lightCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    The wrought iron staircase runs through the homeCredit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    Tyson and his wife Lakika have lived in Henderson, Nevada since 2008Credit: LUXURY HOMES of Las Vegas

    Mike Tyson reveals he is in boxing training ahead of shock return to the ring for four-round charity fight More