Soccer Tickets Online Archives for January 2012

It’s Goals Galore In The Premier League

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Manchester United beat West Brom 2-0 to maintain their seven-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who scraped to a 4-3 win at Norwich City.

United went ahead at Old Trafford in the ninth minute against Albion when Gareth McAuley inadvertently knocked the ball into his own goal after Ashley Young drove a low cross across the face of goal.

Chelsea Set To Launch £15m Swoop For Striker Alvaro Negredo

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Reports coming out of Spain that Chelsea have lined up a January swoop for Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo to boost their attack.

The Spain international would cost in the region of £15 million and Sevilla are said to be keen for a quick sale to ease their financial problems.

In his four seasons at Seville, Negredo has scored 65 goals in 150 games across all competitions, including 11 in 12 so far this season.

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes: We have to keep going

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Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has warned that the season is far from over ahead of his side's return to training for the second half of the season.

The record German champions have a nine-point cushion over Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the Bundesliga at the midway stage of the campaign, but Heynckes says his side must not rest on their laurels in 2013.

January Premier League Transfers

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The January 2013 transfer window is now closed for permanent signings, and will reopen on 1 January.

Who will be the big spending clubs in January? Will Chelsea break the British transfer record for Atletico Madrid striker Falcao? Will Arsene Wenger finally spend some serious money? Where will Wesley Sneijder end up?

Harry Says No Panic Buying In January For QPR

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Harry Redknapp insists that Queens Park Rangers will not engage in panic buying in January in a bid to lift themselves off the foot of the Premier League table.

QPR are six points from safety, and with a tough run of games coming up against Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and Man City, and Redknapp admits he needs new additions in the window.

Falcao Staying At Atletico Madrid Until Summer

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Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has confirmed what I have been saying for weeks now. That he will not be going anywhere in the upcoming January transfer window.

The Colombian has been linked with a £50million move to Chelsea, but the 26-year-old Falcao thinks he will stay at Atletico until at least the end of the season.

Barca Offer David Villa To Arsenal For £16m

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The Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal have been quoted £16 million forBarcelonastriker David Villa.I wroteearlier in the weekabout Arsene Wenger's interest in the 31-year-old striker.

Arsenal need a top quality striker, but whileWenger is said to prefer a short-term loan for Spain's record goalscorer, who is also a target forChelsea, he is reportedly willing to offer a permanent move if the price is right.

Fergie Calls Newcastle United “a wee club in the north east”

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Priceless comment by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson today about Alan Pardew and Newcastle United.

After the boxing day match between the two sides at Old Trafford, Pardew had criticized Fergie for confronting referee Mike Dean at half-time and as the two sides came out for the second half.

Real Madrid Batting Its Eyes Of Gareth Bale

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It looks like Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Real Madrid this summer, creating an opening in their line-up for a left footed player. And if today's Marca is any indication, the courting of Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale to replace Ronaldo has begun.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Real are putting together a £33m offer (€40m) for Bale, who is said to be the Spanish Champions top target for next summer.

Russian Side Makes £205m Messi Bid

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Yes, that is not a misprint. An unnamed Russian side (Anzhi?) made an official offer of £205m (€250m) to Barcelona for Lionel Messi, according to reports in Spain.

The incredible offer, which would have more than doubled the current world record transfer fee, triggered Messi's automatic release clause, meaning that Barcelona were contractually obliged to accept it.

Uefa Appeals Its Own Disciplinary Decision

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In a perfect illustration of how dysfunctional Uefa is, Europe's regulatory body is appealing the the sanctions imposed on England and Serbia by its own disciplinary body following October's Under-21 game.

Uefa's Control and Disciplinary body had imposed an €80,000 fine on the Serbian FA and ordered their next Under-21 game to be played behind closed doors as a result of the home supporters' racist chanting during the U21 playoff match in Krusevac.

Rooney Out For Three Weeks

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Wayne Rooney will miss the rest of Manchester United's festive programme after injuring knee ligaments in training on Christmas Day.

The striker has been ruled out for between two and three weeks with the problem, which kept him out of a thrilling Boxing Day victory over Newcastle.

Rooney's replacement Javier Hernandez scored an injury-time winner in a 4-3 success which put United seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Brad Friedel extends Tottenham contract

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Really surprised to hear that Brad Friedel has extended his contract with Tottenham Hotspur until 2014.

The 41-year-old Friedel started the season as the first-choice goalkeeper at White Hart Lane but has since lost his place in the side to close-season signing Hugo Lloris, the France international.

Spurs To Grab Wesley Sneijder For Bargain Price Of £10m

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It was only 18 months ago that Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder was linked with a £25m move to Manchester United. That move fell apart reportedly due to Sneijder's high wage demands and it looks like Spurs are about to capitalize.

Sneijder, who has not played since September, has been involved in a pay dispute with Inter Milan.

United Extend Lead In Premier League

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Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points after a thrilling 4-3 victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford.

The match at Old Trafford was the perfect advertisement as to why the Premier League is the best league in the world. End to end action from the first whistle, lots of goals and controversy.

Napoli Reject €55m Bid For Cavani

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Napoli say that they have turned down a €55m offer for striker Edinson Cavani, whose 13 league goals this season helped Napoli end the year in fifth place, one point out of a Champions League spot.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis told Radio Monte:

"Cavani is a warrior who embodies all that's best of the Napoli spirit and our supporters.

82.4% Of Voters Want Mourinho Sacked

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The results of an online survey by are pretty clear, The Real Madrid fans have had enough of Jose Mourinho and they want him fired.

Benching Casillas for the Málaga game on Saturday was the last straw for the Madridista. A question by over the weekend "Should Real Madrid sack Mourinho?

United Held By Swansea As Chelsea Thrash Villa

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Manchester United's lead at the Premier League summit now stands at four points after the frontrunners could only muster a 1-1 draw at Swansea City, on day when Chelsea handed Aston Villa an 8-0 defeat.

Looking to respond to Manchester City's win against Reading on Saturday, it was United who went ahead after 16 minutes when Patrice Evra met Robin van Persie's corner at the near post and headed in.

Malaga handed one-year UEFA ban

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Malaga have been banned from the Champions League and all other UEFA competitions for the next season they qualify in the next four years and will see another year's ban if they do not prove they have no outstanding payments to clubs or players by March 31, 2013.

The cash-strapped Spanish side are one of nine clubs who have come under fire from UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) adjudicatory chamber and will be punished further if they do not make changes to the way they conduct business.

Would West Ham Really Let Big Sam Walk?

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While I am not a big fan West Ham boss Sam Allardyce and bis style of play, I can acknowledge that he does know how to keep teams in the top half of the Premier League. His sides will rarely challenge for a European place, but they finish mid table year after year, which is an accomplishment in itself.

Neymar To Barca Deal Not As Done As Thought?

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It has been widely reported in Spain and Brazil that last season Barcelona reached an agreement to buy Neymar from Santos for €40 million. The Barcelona financial reports for last season show that they have already paid Santos at least €10 million for the Brazilian superstar.

The agreement is structured so that Neymar could continue to play for Santos through the end of the 2014 World Cup at which time he would move to Spain to team up with Xavi and Messi.

Pato And Robinho To Leave Milan In January

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It has been a miserable first half to the season for AC Milan, who where thrashed 4-2 by Roma yesterday.

Despite qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages, the Rossoneri will begin the new year in seventh place, nine points behind second place Lazio, and a massive 17 points behind leaders Juventus.

PSG Thumbs Nose A Uefa’s FInancial Fair Play Rules

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Paris Saint-Germain have been on a massive spending spree since being bought by Qatar Sports Investments (QIA) in May 2011.

Since buying PSG, QIA have spent over €200m (£157m) in signing some of Europe's best players like Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Real Madrid Lose Again As Messi Scores His 91st

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Any faint hope that Real Madrid fans of retaining the La Liga title ended today as they lost 3-2 at Malaga. The defeat, combined with Barcelona's early 3-1 win at Valladolid, means that Jose Mourinho's side will enter the Christmas break an unbelievable 16 points behind Barca.

For some strange reason, Mourinho dropped/rested Iker Casillas from his starting line-up, but it did not seen to matter in the first half as they totally dominated possession.

Man City Leave It Late Again And Spurs Drop Two Big Points

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Gareth Barry's late goal allowed Manchester City to close the gap on city rivals United, while the race for other two Champions League places tightened with four teams all tied on 30 points.

It looked like Roberto Mancini's side were going to drop two valuable points in the title race to United as bottom side Reading looked set to have grabbed an unlikely point at the Etihad.

PSG Enters The Winter Break Atop Of Ligue 1

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It has been a little more difficult that many fans expected, but Paris Saint-Germain will ente the Ligue 1 winter break as league leaders after beating 10-man Brest on Friday, for their fourth successive win.

PSG are three points ahead of Lyon and Marseille, but their superior goal difference of 24, compared to 13 and three respectively for their title rivals, will allow them to go into 2013 in pole position.

Conte Salutes Juve’s Record Breaking Year

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Juventus coach Antonio Conte expressed pride in his team's achievement after they set a new Italian league record of 94 points in a calendar year with a 3-1 win over Cagliari on Friday.

Victory means Juventus have still dropped just eight points so far this season in their pursuit of a successful title defence and they are clear at the top of Serie A going into the Christmas break.

Premier League Clubs Agree To Radical New Cost Controls

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With a massive new TV contract coming into force next year, the 20 Premier League clubs are working hard to make sure that the £3B in additional revenue stays at the clubs, and is not handed over to the players via higher wages.

With that goal in mind the clubs have agreed, in principle, to introduce radical new cost controls.

David Villa To Juventus On Loan?

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Reports are starting to surface in Spain and Italy that Juventus and Barcelona are talking about a January loan deal for David Villa.

Juventus have been looking for a top striker since the summer and it looks like they have failed to sign former Chelsea star Didier Drogba. The Italian champions have also been linked with a deal for Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente who is out of contract this summer.

Daniele De Rossi Going Nowhere Says Roma

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AS Roma made it very clear on Tuesday that they have no intention of selling star Daniele De Rossi to Manchester City or anyone in January.

It has been a tough season for De Rossi who has struggled to adapt to new Roma coach Zdenek Zeman's 4-3-3 formation.

But at a press conference on Tuesday Roma president James Pallotta said:

"We have no intention of selling him.

Napoli Deducted Two Points In Match Fixing Scandal

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Napoli's hope of catching Serie A leaders Juventus have been dealt a blow with the news that the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have docked them two points after defenders Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava were handed six-month bans for failing to report match-fixing.

Former Azzurri goalkeeper Matteo Gianello has been banned for 39 months for admitting an attempt to fix Napoli's top-flight meeting with Sampdoria in 2010, with Cannavaro and Grava punished for failing to report their knowledge of Gianello's actions and Napoli penalised as the players' employer.

Tito Vilanova Steps Down As Barcelona Manager

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Shocking news out of Spain where Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova has stepped down with immediate effect after suffering a tumour relapse.

Vilanova underwent a successful operation to remove a tumour found on his parotid gland, the largest of the human salivary glands, last November when he was Pep Guardiola's number two.

Arsene Wenger: No More Financial Restrictions At Arsenal

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I feel that I am living in some alternate universe these days. How else can you explain Arsenal agreeing to new deals with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

As if that was not crazy enough I see this quote from Arsene Wenger:

"We have gone through a period where we had restricted potential, financially," Wenger said.

Messi, Puyol And Xavi Sign New Deal At Barcelona

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Perfect Christmas present for Barcelona fans as the club has announced that it has reached agreements with Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández and Lionel Messi for the renewal of their respective contracts.

Messi's current deal with Barcelona ran until June 30, 2016, and the new deal extends that until 2018, when Messi will be 31.

MLS Announces 2013 Home Openers Dates And Opponents

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In the past I have criticized Major League Soccer for their tardiness in publishing their schedule for the next season. So imagine my surprise today when MLS announced the dates and opponents for the 2013.

The 18th MLS season will kick off on Saturday, March 2, 2013, with six matches and continue that same weekend with three games on Sunday, March 3.

Arsenal Romp To Win Against Reading

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Santi Cazorla helped himself to a hat-trick as Arsenal closed up on the top four of the Premier League with a 5-2 win at bottom club Reading.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had called for a response following last week's shock League Cup penalty shoot-out defeat at Bradford, and got it tonight as the visitors surged into a 3-0 half-time lead following Lukas Podolski's well-taken goal and a brace from Cazorla.

Mario Balotelli takes City to tribunal over fine

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How bad are things between Manchester City and their striker Mario Balotelli? So bad that Balotelli has taken the highly unusual move of taking the club to a Premier League tribunal this week.

It seems that last season City fined Balotelli£340,000 for what they believe was been persistently poor discipline on the pitch.

Florentino Pérez Responds To Mourinho’s White Flag

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You knew that Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez could not let Jose Mourinho's surrender of its La Liga title go unchallenged. So no surprise to hear Perez respond on Monday at a charity event saying:

"One of Madrid's sporting principles is to never give up, no matter how difficult the challenge.

Fellaini Given Three Match Ban

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Big blow for Everton as midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been suspended for three matches after accepting a charge of violent conduct for his clash with Stoke's Ryan Shawcross.

The Football Association brought the charge retrospectively after reviewing footage of Everton's 1-1 draw with Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

PSG Confirm Interest In Ronaldo And Mourinho

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There have been rumours for it for a while now, that Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho would be heading to Paris Saint Germanin this summer. And in an interview in Marca,
Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Paris Saint Germain owner Sheikh Nasser Al Khelaifi's right-hand man, confirmed the French club's interest in signing the Portuguese duo.

Barca Beat Atletico As Mou Concedes Title

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FC Barcelona stretched their lead at the top of Liga to a commanding nine points after overcoming an early scare to defeat second-placed Atlético Madrid 4-1 at the Camp Nou.

As the league's two top scorers came head to head in the shape of Lionel Messi and Falcao, it was Atlético's Columbian marksman who upstaged his Argentinian counterpart in the early stages, hitting the post before producing a sublime chipped finish to put the visitors ahead.

Tottenham up to fourth with Swansea win

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Jan Vertonghen's second-half goal helped Tottenham Hotspur beat Swansea City 1-0 today, while West Brom and West Ham played out a drab scoreless tie.

Michael Laudrup's Swansea long looked set for a point in north London as their meticulous rearguard display starved Tottenham of any joy in the final third.

Juve Extend Lead In Serie A

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Juventus stretched their lead at the Serie A summit to seven points with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against ten-man Atalanta, on a day when Napoli blew the chance to move second.

Atalanta have claimed some considerable scalps this season but any ambitions of adding to that list looked bleak when Mirko Vučinić swept in after two minutes.

Arsenal Need To Build The Team Around Jack Wilshere

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Jack Wilshere as given Arsenal fans the perfect Christmas present by saying that he will sign a new deal with the club within weeks.

Wilshere still has two-and-a-half years of his £50,000-a-week deal left but the new contract could see him tied to the club until 2017.

"I'm talking to the club and I probably will be committing my future in the next couple of weeks.

Chelsea Lose In Club World Cup Final

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Chelsea fans around the world will not be waking up to "Champions Of The World" t-shirts under the tree on Christmas Day after Rafa Benitez's side lost 1-0 to Corinthians today.

The defeat is the latest blow for a Chelsea side that had failed at every opportunity to live up to the title of CHampions Of Europe.

United And QPR Win As Villa Shock Liverpool

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Manchester United maintained their six-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford.

United had seen their advantage at the summit cut after champions Manchester City won by the same scoreline at Newcastle United in the lunchtime kick-off. However, Sir Alex Ferguson's side produced a convincing response with Robin van Persie and Tom Cleverley netting inside the opening 20 minutes.

Manchester City Announces Loss Of £93.4m

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Who says money can't buy success? Manchester City today put a price of £93.4m on last season's Premier League title. That is the amount that City lost during the 2011-12 season.

But that down significantly from the record loss they announced 12 months ago of £189m.

Man City will highlight the positive part of the report, which was that revenues increased 51% to £231.

New York Red Bulls Finally End Rafa Marquez Experiment

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The New York Red Bulls have finally released Mexican star Rafa Marquez, who has signed for Mexican side Club Leon.

Marquez, who was signed from Barcelona, has to go down as the worst big-name signing in MLS history.

"This decision has been made in the best interests of both parties concerned," said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh.

Fans Vote Rooney Premier League Top’s Player

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Over 30,000 fans have taken part in a Barclays Global Fans Survey and they have voted Wayne Rooney voted as best player in the Premier League.

The Manchester United striker topped the vote with one in five fans voting him as the best current player in the Barclays Premier League.

A similar proportion of fans named Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the most exciting new prospect over the next five years with the young England star claiming 17% of the vote.

Buffon wants short-term Juve deal

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Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has said he is close to agreeing a contract extension with the Serie A champions but is looking for a "short-term deal".

Buffon and Juventus have been negotiating all season over extending his current deal with the I Bianconeri.

But the Italy keeper, who recently made his 100th appearance in European competition as Juve qualified top of their group for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, revealed he may not be at Juve for much longer.

Chelsea To Make Falcao Its Highest Paid Player

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What Financial Fair Play Rules? Obviously Chelsea do not care much about them as owner Roman Abramovich is said to be ready to break the bank to sign Atletico Madrid superstar Radamel Falcao.

Abramovich wants Falcao and is ready to meet the £48 million buy-out clause in the striker's contract.

Man United Own Top Selling Jerseys In USA

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Robin van Persie's popularity at Manchester United since joining from Arsenal in the summer is demonstrated by news that his is the best-selling official Barclays Premier League shirt in North America this season.

Figures released by Sporting ID, which produces the names, numbers and sleeve badges of the Barclays Premier League, show that the United forward, who has scored 11 Premier League goals so far, leads his United strike partner Wayne Rooney, who was found to have had the best-selling shirt in the League's history.

Didier Drogba To Juventus?

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Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Juventus are in talks with former Chelsea star Didier Drogba about joining the Italian champions in January.

Drogba is set to leave Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua as that failed experiment comes to a close due to the Chinese sides financial uncertainty.

Pep Guardiola To Replace Wenger?

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According to, Pep Guardiola is telling associates that if he is coming to the Premier League, he prefers Arsenal overChelsea.

The Spaniard has been linked with English clubs Chelsea,Manchester UnitedandManchester Cityafter leavingBarcelonato take a year-long sabbatical as well as with mega-rich French side Paris St.

Alexis Sanchez Staying At Barcelona Says Agent

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Barcelona attacker Alexis Sanchez will not be sold in the January transfer window according to his agent Fernando Felicevich.

The Chile international has been unable to hold down a regular place in the Barcelona line-up and that has led his name to be linked with a move away from Spain. But his representative sees no reason why the 23-year-old would want to leave Barca.

Napoli Face Point Deduction For Match Fixing

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The fallout out from the latest match fixing scandal that has rattled around Italian Football since the summer is tat the Italian Football Federation prosecutor have recommended a one-point penalty for Serie A title hopefuls Napoli.

Former Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello has confessed to attempting to fix the outcome of Napoli's Serie A match at Sampdoria in 2010.

Mancini Puts Derby Loss On Hart And Nasri

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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is said to have blamed keeper Joe Hart and midfielder m for Samir Nasri for Sunday's defeat to Manchester United.

In a dressing room tirade, Mancini is said to have torn into Joe Hart saying,

"It's your fault"

for Robin van Persie's stoppage time gaol from a free kick.

Atletico Madrid President Puts €60m Tag On Falcao

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Atletico Madrid President Enrique Cerezo agrees with those fans and pundits who are calling Radamel Falcao the best center forward in the world.

Falcao is having a remarkable season, and is one of the biggest reasons why Atletico are second in La Liga.

Lost amongst the noise of Lionel Messi breaking the goal scoring record over the weekend, was the performance of Falcao, who scored five goals in Atleti's 6-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna at the Vicente Calderon.

Wesley Sneijder Heading To PSG

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Reports in France and Italy say that Paris Saint-Germain have reached an agreement to sign Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan in January.

Sneijder has been banished to the stands by Inter as he refuses to sign a new contract which lowers his €6m per season wages. PSG would have no problem meeting Sneijder's current wages and reports suggest that the French side will also extend Sneijder's contract through June 2016.

Messi Breaks Scoring Record While Falcoa Hits Five

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Lionel Messi set a new record of 86 goals in a calendar year as FC Barcelona prevailed 2-1 at Real Betis Balompié, while Falcao hit five as Club Atlético de Madrid posted a commanding win.

Lionel Messi broke Gerd Müller's 40-year-old record for goals in a calendar year as Barcelona won 2-1 at Real Betis.

Lionel Messi’s Remarkable Season

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With his two goals against Betis, the Argentine broke the all-time record of goals scored in a calendar year set by Gerd Müller in 1972. And he still has three more games to add to this tally!

It has been a remarkable year for Messi, who will surely win the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or for a record fourth time now.

Juventus Extends Lead In Serie A

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Serie A leaders Juventus eked out a 1-0 victory away against Palermo to increase their lead at the Serie A summit to four points, while Inter Milan beat Napoli 2-1 to leapfrog Walter Mazzarri's men into second.

Juve had suspended coach Antonio Conte back on the sideline for the first time this season as his suspension in the match-fixing scandal has ended.

United Beat City To Go Six Points Clear

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Robin van Persie scored an injury-time winner to give Manchester United victory in today's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. As United celebrated, Rio Ferdinand was struck by an object which drew blood from a cut close to his eye. A City supporter then ran onto the pitch and had to be restrained by Joe Hart before being carted away by stewards.

Italian Giants Lining Up For Mario Balotelli

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Last January saw the three Italian giants battling over Manchester City's Carlos Tevez. This January will see the same three sides fight over anther Man City striker: Mario Balotelli.

According to the Italian newspapers, the gulf between Balotelli and Roberto Mancini has widened again, and all three Serie A sides want to bring SuperMario back to Italy.

Torres Scores Two As Chelsea Close Gap On Top Two

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Fernando Torres scored twice at Sunderland as Rafa Benitez his first Premier League win in charge of Chelsea. It's been a good week for Torres who has scored a brace in back to back games this week.

Torres got on the end of a clever cross from Eden Hazard to volley Chelsea ahead and then converted his first penalty in English football after Sebastian Larsson fouled Ramires.

Ozil Brace Helps Real Madrid To Comeback Victoiry

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Real Madrid showed their mettle as they twice came from behind to win at Real Valladolid, while Málaga moved up to fourth in the Liga after beating Granada 4-0.

Eight points behind the Liga leaders, Real Madrid are still clinging to Barcelona's coat-tails, but twice needed to battle back from behind to snatch a 3-2 victory at Real Valladolid.

Totti Leads Roma To Victory Over Fiorentina

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Two first-half goals from captain Francesco Totti helped Roma beat Fiorentina 4-2 at Stadio Olimpico today and move above the Viola and city rivals Lazio into fourth place in Serie A.

Leandro Castan put Roma in front in the seventh minute, but Facundo Roncaglia levelled seven minutes later.

Fernando Llorente Eyes Up The Premier League

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It was expected that Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente would be joining Juventus in the January transfer window.

The striker has been the source of transfer speculation since last summer when he confirmed to Athletic that he would not be renewing his contract, and Juve were rumoured to have had a bid for the player turned down this past summer.

Lionel Messi Injury Not Serious

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You could hear a pin drop in the Nou Camp when Lionel Messu went down grabbing his knee late in Wednesday's Champions League match with Benfica. When he was carried off on a stretcher Barcelona fans feared the worst.

But tests today revealed nothing worse than bruising and he was able to train in the Barca gym on Thursday morning.

Champions League Roundup: Chelsea Out While Celtic Advance

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Chelsea became the first defending champions to crash out at the group stage of the Champions League, despite beating Nordsjaelland 6-1 last night. But Chelsea are heading to Thursday night football and the Europa League after Juventus beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 to finish above Chelsea in the standings.

Arsenal Executive: Winning Is Not Important To Us

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That is not a misquote. Those are the words of Arsenal chief commercial officer Tom Fox who feels that the brand is more important than the team.

Fox was interviewed about Arsenal's new shirt sponsorship deal with the Emirates and his comments are sure to infuriate Arsenal fans, especially with the team anguishing in 10th spot in the Premier League, after being beaten 2-0 at home by Swansea last weekend, and were booed off by their increasingly angry supporters.

Is Ronaldo Faster Than Usain Bolt?

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While Usain Bolt may be the fastest man in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo did something overt the weekend that I am not sure Bolt could equal.

In the match against Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo covered 96 metres in only 10 seconds. Although that is some way off Bolt's world record, keep in mind that Ronaldo was running on grass and in boots, he was concentrating on the movement of the ball and he has already run about 7km during the game before this.

Mourinho refuses to comment on exit rumours

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Jose Mourinho refused to add to the media speculation surrounding his future as Real Madrid coach on Monday, but failed to nip it in the bud when questioned in the run up to the Champions League visit of Ajax.

I wrote on Monday howe reports from Spain said that Mourinho was planning to leave the club at the end of the season.

Wesley Sneijder Says He Will Not Sign Inter Deal At Lower Wages

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Wesley Sneijder and his agent met with Inter Milan officials today in an attempt to resolve his current contract impasse. Basically Inter have told Sneijder that he will not play for them until he accepts a reported 50% cut in his €6m wages.

That is something that Sneijder is not interested in and he issued a brief statement after the meeting confirming that:

"At this moment in time I have no reason to sign," the former Real Madrid man commented.

Good Wins For Napoli, Inter And Lazio

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Napoli moved back within two points of Serie A leaders Juventus after beating Pescara 5-1 on Sunday, while Inter and Lazio also picked up important wins.

On Saturday, Juventus rebounded from last week's defeat to AC Milan beat ten-man Torino 3-0 in the first Derby della Mole since March 2009, Claudio Marchisio scoring twice for Juve.

Fergie: Mourinho Could Be Next United Boss

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Interesting comments from Sir Alex Ferguson that he believes that Jose Mourinho would be capable of stepping into his shoes at Manchester United, but he stopped short of saying he is the man who should replace him.

I have long believed that Mourinho is the only manager with the ability, and ego, to replace a legend like Fergie when he finally retires.

The Decline Of Pepe Reina

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There were newspaper reports over the weekend suggesting that Arsenal are preparing a January bid for Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of the Spanish goalkeeper and had a £20 million offer for Reina rejected in 2010. But now it is said that Arsenal can get Reina for half that amount, as Brendan Rodgers looks to raise some cash to buy his own players.

Messi Scores Two More And Real Win Derby

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Barcelona opened up a six-point lead at the top of La Liga's summit after Lionel Messi's brace inspired a 5-1 rout of Athletic Bilbao, with Real Madrid then seeing off second-placed Atletico Madrid 2-0 in the late kick-off.

Messi's 83rd and 84th goals of the calendar year left the Argentina forward needing just one more goal to equal Gerd Muller's record of 85 in a calendar year, set in 1972.

Will Kaka Replace Becks In LA?

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I thought that the LA Galaxy was going to replace David Beckham with another English midfielder. Namely Chelsea's Frank Lampard who is out of contract at the end of the season.

But it appears that the Galaxy are aiming higher, with the club's owner Tim Leiweke saying that he is confident that they can agree a deal with Madrid for the former World Footballer of the Year.

Arsenal Fall To 10th In Premier League And Chelsea Lose Again

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Arsenal's miserable start to the season continued today as they were outplayed at home by Swansea and lost 2-0 thanks to a late Michu brace.

The Gunners had been lucky to hold on with Wojciech Szczesny pulling off a superb double save to deny Angel Rangel, then a crucial interception from Thomas Vermaelen denied a certain goal for Nathan Dyer.

Confederations Cup Draw: Brazil v Italy and Spain v Uruguay

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The draw for next summer's Confederations Cup was made in Sao Paulo today and it set up some interesting matches.

The Confederations Cup takes place in Brazil on 15-30 June 2013 when hosts Brazil line up in Group A with Japan, Mexico and Italy. While Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti will be joined in Group B by the champions of Africa, whose identity will be revealed after next February's CAF Africa Cup of Nations final.