AFP

English Premier League

Cazorla to leave Arsenal in June

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London (AFP) – Santi Cazorla will bring the curtain down on his injury-ravaged Arsenal career when the Spanish midfielder leaves at the end of his contract in June.

Cazorla hasn’t played for Arsenal since suffering a serious Achilles injury in October 2016.

In a bid to return to action, he had 10 separate operations and a skin graft after he lost eight centimetres of tendon in his right ankle.

Moore hopes Albion appointment proves an inspiration

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London (AFP) – Darren Moore claims his appointment as West Bromwich Albion manager will be an inspiration to ethnic minority coaches, as well as aspiring British bosses.

Moore was only the second manager in the Premier League, alongside Chris Hughton at Brighton, to represent a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) group before Albion’s relegation at the end of the season.

Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

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Madrid (AFP) – Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.

Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.

Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

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Madrid (AFP) – Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.

Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.

Matic says Man Utd ‘can fight for Premier League title’ with right signings

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London (AFP) – Nemanja Matic says Manchester United “can fight for the title and the Champions League” if they make the right signings in the transfer window after defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final left the Old Trafford trophy cabinet bare.

Jose Mourinho’s team lost Saturday’s showpiece at Wembley 1-0 to Matic’s former club, with Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty enough to settle the contest.

Relaxed Tuchel embraces PSG challenge

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain did not waste time turning the page on Unai Emery’s time in charge, and the arrival of the fresh-faced Thomas Tuchel marks the start of a new era.

Less than 24 hours after Emery bowed out as the Ligue 1 champions played out a soporific goalless draw in Caen without a host of their biggest names, Tuchel appeared at the Parc des Princes for the first time.

Relaxed Tuchel embraces PSG challenge

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain did not waste time turning the page on Unai Emery’s time in charge, and the arrival of the fresh-faced Thomas Tuchel marks the start of a new era.

Less than 24 hours after Emery bowed out as the Ligue 1 champions played out a soporific goalless draw in Caen without a host of their biggest names, Tuchel appeared at the Parc des Princes for the first time.

Man City chairman expects more under ‘relentless’ Guardiola

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London (AFP) – The chairman of English Premier League champions Manchester City is confident the club will reach even greater heights under the “relentless” Pep Guardiola despite having just completed a record-breaking season.

City became the first Premier League champions to post 100 points and won the title by a huge 19 points from second-placed Manchester United.

Man City chairman expects more under ‘relentless’ Guardiola

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London (AFP) – The chairman of English Premier League champions Manchester City is confident the club will reach even greater heights under the “relentless” Pep Guardiola despite having just completed a record-breaking season.

City became the first Premier League champions to post 100 points and won the title by a huge 19 points from second-placed Manchester United.

Darron Gibson

Former Sunderland star Gibson avoids prison over drink driving

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London (AFP) – Former Republic of Ireland and Sunderland star Darron Gibson has been spared prison despite admitting a second serious drink-driving offence.

Gibson’s contract with Sunderland was terminated in March after he smashed his Mercedes 4×4 into a taxi and five parked cars while on his way to the club’s training ground.

Former Sunderland star Gibson avoids prison over drink driving

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London (AFP) – Former Republic of Ireland and Sunderland star Darron Gibson has been spared prison despite admitting a second serious drink-driving offence.

Gibson’s contract with Sunderland was terminated in March after he smashed his Mercedes 4×4 into a taxi and five parked cars while on his way to the club’s training ground.

Roberto Martinez

Belgian Nainggolan announces international retirement after World Cup snub

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Milan (AFP) – Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan announced Monday he was calling time on his international career after being overlooked for the Belgium World Cup squad.

The heavily tattooed 30-year-old has played 30 times for his country and is popular with supporters, but his relationship with coach Roberto Martinez has often been strained.

Belgian Nainggolan announces international retirement after World Cup snub

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Milan (AFP) – Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan announced Monday he was calling time on his international career after being overlooked for the Belgium World Cup squad.

The heavily tattooed 30-year-old has played 30 times for his country and is popular with supporters, but his relationship with coach Roberto Martinez has often been strained.

Belgium leave out Nainggolan for World Cup

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Brussels (AFP) – Belgium have left midfield creator Radja Nainggolan out of their World Cup squad, coach Roberto Martinez said on Monday.

The absence of Nainggolan, who scored twice for Roma in the second league of the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool this month, was the biggest surprise in the 28-player list that will be reduced to 23 before the tournament.

Belgium leave out Nainggolan for World Cup

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Brussels (AFP) – Belgium have left midfield creator Radja Nainggolan out of their World Cup squad, coach Roberto Martinez said on Monday.

The absence of Nainggolan, who scored twice for Roma in the second league of the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool this month, was the biggest surprise in the 28-player list that will be reduced to 23 before the tournament.

Gabriel Mercado

Inter striker Icardi left out of Argentina World Cup squad

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, the joint-leading scorer in Italy this season, was a notable omission from Argentina’s 23-man World Cup squad named by coach Jorge Sampaoli on Monday.

Icardi scored his 29th Serie A goal of the season on Sunday as Inter pipped Lazio to a Champions League place, but he was one of 12 players cut from a provisional 35-man squad revealed last week.

Inter striker Icardi left out of Argentina World Cup squad

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, the joint-leading scorer in Italy this season, was a notable omission from Argentina’s 23-man World Cup squad named by coach Jorge Sampaoli on Monday.

Icardi scored his 29th Serie A goal of the season on Sunday as Inter pipped Lazio to a Champions League place, but he was one of 12 players cut from a provisional 35-man squad revealed last week.

David Beckham

Beckham nemesis Ozalan candidate for Erdogan party in Turkey polls

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Istanbul (AFP) – Former Turkey international footballer Alpay Ozalan, who famously taunted David Beckham in a Euro 2004 qualifier, is one of several personalities from outside politics standing for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party in June elections, it announced Monday.

Turkey will on June 24 vote in presidential and parliamentary elections and parties are now submitting the names of candidates to the authorities.

Beckham nemesis Ozalan candidate for Erdogan party in Turkey polls

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Istanbul (AFP) – Former Turkey international footballer Alpay Ozalan, who famously taunted David Beckham in a Euro 2004 qualifier, is one of several personalities from outside politics standing for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party in June elections, it announced Monday.

Turkey will on June 24 vote in presidential and parliamentary elections and parties are now submitting the names of candidates to the authorities.

Liverpool

Klopp seeks fitting finale to long road to Kiev

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is quietly confident his side can upset the odds by preventing Real Madrid from claiming a third consecutive Champions League title on Saturday, to cap a stunning season engineered by the German.

Klopp’s men started their Champions League campaign in a playoff against Hoffenheim just to make the group stages back in August.

Klopp seeks fitting finale to long road to Kiev

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is quietly confident his side can upset the odds by preventing Real Madrid from claiming a third consecutive Champions League title on Saturday, to cap a stunning season engineered by the German.

Klopp’s men started their Champions League campaign in a playoff against Hoffenheim just to make the group stages back in August.

Liverpool can beat Real if they conquer their nerves – Alonso

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Madrid (AFP) – Xabi Alonso believes Liverpool can beat Real Madrid and be European champions but only if they cope with the pressure of playing in a Champions League final.

Alonso won Europe´s premier tournament with Liverpool in 2005 and Real in 2014, having spent five years playing for both of this season´s finalists.

Massimiliano Allegri

Italy football shakeup offers hope to Juve’s rivals

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Milan (AFP) – The shakeup in Italian football promised by Roberto Mancini following the Azzurri’s World Cup flop has offered hope to Juventus’s rivals that it could impact the Serie A next season.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri met with club bosses on Monday to discuss his future contract and potential summer signings after claiming a fourth league and Cup doubles in as many years in Turin.

Italy football shakeup offers hope to Juve’s rivals

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Milan (AFP) – The shakeup in Italian football promised by Roberto Mancini following the Azzurri’s World Cup flop has offered hope to Juventus’s rivals that it could impact the Serie A next season.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri met with club bosses on Monday to discuss his future contract and potential summer signings after claiming a fourth league and Cup doubles in as many years in Turin.

From Allegri to Benevento: Tops and flops in the 2017/18 Serie A season

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Milan (AFP) – The 2017/18 Italian Serie A season finished on Sunday with Juventus crowned champions for the seventh straight year and 34th time in their history.

AFP Sport looks at the tops and flops of the league campaign in Italy:

– Tops –

Massimiliano Allegri

The 50-year-old Juventus coach once again proved to be the master strategist despite criticism for orchestrating a style of play deemed less attractive and exciting than rivals Napoli.

Iraq

Iraq to host first international football tournament

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Baghdad (AFP) – Iraq is to host a West Asia Football Federation championship in the southern city of Basra in November, the first international tournament to be staged in the country since the 1990s.

Iraqi authorities late Sunday hailed WAFF’s invitation to host the tournament, following the decision in March of world football’s governing body FIFA to lift a three-decade ban on Iraq hosting international football.

Iraq to host first international football tournament

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Baghdad (AFP) – Iraq is to host a West Asia Football Federation championship in the southern city of Basra in November, the first international tournament to be staged in the country since the 1990s.

Iraqi authorities late Sunday hailed WAFF’s invitation to host the tournament, following the decision in March of world football’s governing body FIFA to lift a three-decade ban on Iraq hosting international football.

AFC Champions League

Cannavaro in the dark as Guangzhou owner vows shake-up

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Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande are set for swingeing changes and are likely to raid Europe for new signings as a sense of crisis envelops Fabio Cannavaro’s dejected side.

Guangzhou have dominated the Chinese Super League (CSL) for nearly a decade, lifting seven consecutive titles and twice winning the AFC Champions League.

Cannavaro in the dark as Guangzhou owner vows shake-up

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Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande are set for swingeing changes and are likely to raid Europe for new signings as a sense of crisis envelops Fabio Cannavaro’s dejected side.

Guangzhou have dominated the Chinese Super League (CSL) for nearly a decade, lifting seven consecutive titles and twice winning the AFC Champions League.

peru

Peru fans literally praying for Guerrero deliverance

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Lima (AFP) – Hundreds of Peruvian fans joined full-back Luis Advincula in prayer on Sunday, hoping divine intervention will deliver skipper Paolo Guerrero to the World Cup despite a doping ban.

The 34-year old Peru captain already has the backing of Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra and now Advincula wants God on his side too.

Peru fans literally praying for Guerrero deliverance

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Lima (AFP) – Hundreds of Peruvian fans joined full-back Luis Advincula in prayer on Sunday, hoping divine intervention will deliver skipper Paolo Guerrero to the World Cup despite a doping ban.

The 34-year old Peru captain already has the backing of Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra and now Advincula wants God on his side too.

sporting

Aves stun shaken Sporting to lift maiden Portuguese Cup

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Lisbon (AFP) – Unfancied Aves shocked a rattled Sporting 2-1 to clinch their first Portuguese Cup title on Sunday, five days after a horrific gang attack at the Lisbon club’s training ground.

A 50-strong gang of masked and hooded men brutally attacked players and officials at Sporting’s Alcochete training base in the Lisbon suburbs on Tuesday, prompting the club to initially consider pulling out of the final.

Aves stun shaken Sporting to lift maiden Portuguese Cup

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Lisbon (AFP) – Unfancied Aves shocked a rattled Sporting 2-1 to clinch their first Portuguese Cup title on Sunday, five days after a horrific gang attack at the Lisbon club’s training ground.

A 50-strong gang of masked and hooded men brutally attacked players and officials at Sporting’s Alcochete training base in the Lisbon suburbs on Tuesday, prompting the club to initially consider pulling out of the final.

madrid

Iniesta and Torres depart Barcelona and Atletico in style

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Madrid (AFP) – Two Spanish giants bid farewell to their boyhood clubs on Sunday as Andres Iniesta waved goodbye to Barcelona and Fernando Torres went out with a bang at Aletico Madrid.

Torres scored twice on his final appearance for Atletico, even if a Lucas Hernandez red card helped Eibar claim a 2-2 draw on the last day of the La Liga season.

Iniesta and Torres depart Barcelona and Atletico in style

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Madrid (AFP) – Two Spanish giants bid farewell to their boyhood clubs on Sunday as Andres Iniesta waved goodbye to Barcelona and Fernando Torres went out with a bang at Aletico Madrid.

Torres scored twice on his final appearance for Atletico, even if a Lucas Hernandez red card helped Eibar claim a 2-2 draw on the last day of the La Liga season.

France

Ajaccio triumph in crazy French promotion play-off

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Ajaccio (France) (AFP) – After one postponement, four red cards, a dramatic late equaliser and a penalty shoot-out, Corsican club Ajaccio are closing in on promotion back to France’s top flight.

The Ligue 2 promotion play-off between Ajaccio and Le Havre was postponed in surreal scenes on Friday after fans of the Corsican club attacked the visitors’ team bus.

Ajaccio triumph in crazy French promotion play-off

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Ajaccio (France) (AFP) – After one postponement, four red cards, a dramatic late equaliser and a penalty shoot-out, Corsican club Ajaccio are closing in on promotion back to France’s top flight.

The Ligue 2 promotion play-off between Ajaccio and Le Havre was postponed in surreal scenes on Friday after fans of the Corsican club attacked the visitors’ team bus.

The Rest

Russia prepares for World Cup drone attack

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Moscow (Russia) (AFP) – Russia will reportedly deploy jamming devices used in Syria and the war in Ukraine to defend World Cup stadiums against a drone attack.

The threat of terror has been a prime concern for organisers of the June 14 to July 15 football showpiece.

Russia has been hit by a string of suicide bombings since winning the right to host the world’s most watched event in 2010.

Religious divide at heart of bitter Celtic-Rangers rivalry

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic and Rangers have exerted a vice-like grip on Scottish football for a century but their bitter rivalry is underpinned by sectarian tensions that predate the existence of either Glasgow club.

The ferocious passion generated when the teams clash in the Old Firm derby makes global headlines but behind it is a hatred whose roots can be found in Scotland’s history of religion and immigration.

Inter Milan snatch Champions League spot from Lazio

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Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan snatched the final Champions League berth with a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 win over direct European rivals Lazio on the final day of the season at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

Inter had to win in order to take third place from Lazio who had a superior head-to-head record and needed just to draw.