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The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 15 January 2013


McIlroy strikes gold with Nike sponsorship deal

Rory McIlroy signed a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Nike yesterday, making him one of the highest-paid sports stars in the world.

The deal is reported to bring in up to $125 million over five years for the Northern Irishman, who earned just over £8 million last year in tour prize money.

"I chose Nike for a number of reasons," said McIlroy. "They are committed to being the best, as am I. Signing with Nike is another step towards living out my dream."

Meanwhile, Colin Montgomerie and Paul McGinley are both in the frame to be named Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup captain today. The European Tour's tournament committee will meet in Abu Dhabi at 15.30 GMT to discuss the role.

Montgomerie, the winning 2010 captain, is a late contender but seen by some as a bigger name than McGinley and better able to oppose America's Tom Watson.

But the reaction to Montgomerie's late surge has been mixed throughout the golfing world, with some suggesting that the captaincy should only be one-time experience and that there are plenty of other worthy candidates. MORE

England World Cup backed by Blatter

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, has admitted England could make the World Cup "very, very exceptional" if given the chance to host the tournament in the future. "They would make the best out of it," said Blatter, who retires in 2015. "It is the homeland of this beautiful game."

QPR slide in for Marseilles' Rémy

Queen's Park Rangers may have hijacked Loïc Rémy's move to Newcastle United as they swooped to steal the 26-year-old Marseilles striker in an £8m move. They were given permission to talk to the France international after matching Newcastle's agreed fee.

Mourinho hints at return to England

Jose Mourinho recorded a special tribute for the Football Association's 150th anniversary dinner tomorrow night, pledging that he will come back one day to manage an English team. "I know one day I will come back because English football means a lot to myself." MORE

Blackpool will speak to Houston

Blackpool have been given permission to speak to the Dundee United manager Peter Houston about the vacancy at Bloomfield Road. A spokesperson for Dundee United said: "As a football club, we won't stand in the way of anyone furthering their career." MORE

United 'no longer obsessed with City'

Manchester United's Patrice Evra has said that his team-mates have stopped talking about Manchester City. "We are Manchester United, you know, and it's not normal when you are focused on another team," said the Frenchman. MORE

Broad set to return for the tour of NZ

England's Stuart Broad is unlikely to play in the final matches of the one-day series with India due to injury, but chairman of selectors Geoff Miller insists he will return for the three Twenty20 internationals with New Zealand next month. MORE

Irish sweat over O'Gara kick citing

Munster's Ronan O'Gara has been cited for allegedly kicking lock Sean Cox during his side's 26-17 Heineken Cup win over Edinburgh on Sunday. If guilty, O'Gara could be banned for Ireland's Six Nations campaign, which starts next month.

Saracens swoop for forward duo

Saracens struck a couple of mighty blows in the transfer market yesterday, badly wounding two of their rivals. Wasps No 8 Billy Vunipola and Harlequins prop James Johnston will join the north Londoners next season.

Watson shrugs off cramp Down Under

Heather Watson fought back to beat Romania's Alexandra Cadantu in the first round of the Australian Open yesterday. Watson trailed by a set and a break but won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 after suffering from cramp. MORE

James Lawton

Certain operating principles of American football have surely never more cried out for some inspection this side of the Atlantic. Super Bowl rings have to be won rather than bought. MORE