International News - Issue 186

Villas-Boas Sacked: Sherwood Handed Chance To Prove His Worth At Tottenham.Tim Sherwood has been given the chance to prove he can get the best out of Tottenham Hotspur’s £110 million underperformers. Andre Villas-Boas left Tottenham on Monday morning, following the 5-0 defeat against Liverpool, and chairman Daniel Levy made Sherwood interim head coach. There is no timescale being put on how long he will be given. But it is believed that he has the opportunity to clinch the post on a permanent basis and spare Levy having to make yet another change. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Liverpool have opened preliminary talks about a new contract for striker Luis Suarez but any potential new lucrative deal is some way off yet. Managing director Ian Ayre flew to Barcelona on Wednesday to speak to the Uruguay international's agents about the possibility of a new deal, it is understood. It seems unlikely the 26-year-old will agree to extend his stay beyond the 2016 end of his current deal until he knows whether the club have qualified for the Champions League. - Full story via The Telegraph

Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba has expressed his joy at being drawn to face his former club Chelsea in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The Ivory Coast captain's final act as a Blues player was to slot the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the 2012 final of the competition, having equalised in regulation time of the tournament decider. "What a draw ... I'm the luckiest man in this competition," Drogba wrote on Instagram. "In both games I'll be playing home! See you in few months." - Full Story via Kickoff

Argentine legend Diego Maradona has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d'Or ahead of La Albiceleste captain Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery. FIFA will announce the winner of their top playing prize in Zurich on January 13, with holder Messi, 2008 winner Ronaldo and Bayern Munich's Ribery shortlisted for the accolade. Maradona, though, believes Ronaldo, who has netted 17 goals in 15 La Liga outings this season, is most deserving of honours. The 53-year-old told Le Buteur: "Cristiano Ronaldo should win. Messi has been injured a lot this year." - Full Story via Kickoff

Luis Suarez was named Player of the Year at Monday night's Football Supporters' Federation Awards - and Kolo Toure thinks Liverpool can win a trophy to keep hold of him. Less than six months after Arsenal bid £40,000,001 for the Uruguayan, Suarez was lifting silverware at the Emirates. But it was an individual award for the striker rather than a team one for Arsene Wenger's men after he beat Leighton Baines, Christian Benteke, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Pablo Zabaleta to the prize, which more than 500,000 people voted for. - Full Story via Daily Mail

Mario Balotelli has made plenty of headlines during his colourful career and the mad-cap AC Milan striker has now decided to wear his favourite newspaper cuttings on the pitch as well. The controversial former Manchester City forward modelled a new pair of natty boots in Milan’s Serie A clash with Roma on Monday night – covered with the pick of his off-field escapades and on-pitch achievements. The boots clearly displayed the ‘Why Always Me?’ catch-line, that Balotelli first revealed on a t-shirt after scoring in City’s 6-1 mauling of neighbours United in 2011, as well several mentions of ‘Super Mario’. - Full Story via Metro

AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari paid a touching tribute to the late Nelson Mandela during last week’s UEFA Champions League clash against Ajax Amsterdam. Some tributes, as we saw with Didier Drogba and Galatasaray teammate Emmanuel Eboue, have landed players in trouble. Muntari's tribute to the world icon was a particularly good one. The midfielder had a special shirt made, with the name Mandela on the back and 95 — Mandela’s age at death — as his number. The shirt was clearly seen during the preamble to the match where, rather than lining up team by team, the Ajax and AC Milan players were arm in arm. - Full Story via Kickoff Nigeria

Manchester United will be without star striker Robin van Persie for a month due to a thigh strain. Red Devils boss David Moyes revealed Van Persie did the damage when taking the corner that Phil Jones converted in the 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League last Tuesday night. Van Persie, the Premier League's top scorer last term, only made his return in the recent 1-0 loss to Newcastle United, having missed the previous four games with a groin problem. - Full Story via Kickoff

Atletico Madrid striker David Villa has revealed Arsenal were chasing his services when he was still in the colours of Barcelona. Villa, who left Barca for Atletico in July for €5.1 million, said the Gunners made an appealing offer for him last January. "Arsenal’s offer was very good for the club and great for me," he said. “But they [Barcelona] did not deem it feasible for me to leave at that time. I was told that I was needed." Villa, Spain's record scorer with 52 goals, has netted eight times in 15 league outings for Rojiblancos. - Full Story via Kickoff Nigeria

Luis Suarez has been tricked into pledging his future to Liverpool for the next five years – after some clever work by a supporter. The Reds striker, who is enjoying another remarkable season, is believed to be in contract talks with Liverpool officials over a new deal. But one fan has already managed to get him signed up for the future, after a clever bit of trickery at an award ceremony. A fan managed to get an autograph on a piece of paper – with the important bit hidden from view. - Full Story via Metro

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe looks set for a move to MLS after a personal plea from rapper Drake. The Canadian superstar apparently called Defoe to persuade him to leave the Premier League behind and move to his beloved Toronto FC. Drake, a big footballer’s favourite, has been employed as Toronto’s ‘global ambassador’ since September and has been used by the club to recruit several big-name stars to their team. And, according to the Mirror, Defoe was ‘blown away’ by the hip-hop star’s appeal and is now ready to commit himself to a £90,000-per-week four-year deal. - Full Story via Metro

Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin, his agent has revealed. The 27-year-old, who has also been linked with Manchester United, emerged as a potential target for Jose Mourinho’s men last week. The Blues are on the lookout for another midfield enforcer, and reports in Italy suggested that negotiations had taken place over a £15million transfer. And amid growing rumours that the deal is close to completion, Guarin’s agent has confirmed his client is edging closer to Chelsea. “Chelsea are trying to get the agreement with Inter,” said Marcelo Ferreyra. “When that happens, Fredy will accept the move and the deal will be closed.” - Full Story via Metro

David Moyes has confirmed he would be ready to let Wilfried Zaha leave Manchester United on loan in January but is yet to receive any interest in the young winger. Zaha has made just two brief substitute Premier League appearances for United since his £15million switch from Crystal Palace. A whole host of clubs have been reported to be keen to offer the 21-year-old more playing time when the transfer window opens in the new year, but Moyes has revealed not one firm bid has come in. - Full Story via Metro

He’s a fringe player at Arsenal these days, and it seems Emmanuel Frimpong has an awful lot of spare time on his hands. The youngster, who loves to share his life on social media, was clearly bored this week – so he opted to design his own football boots. It wasn’t long ago that it was a shock to have white or red coloured boots, but Frimpong’s garish design features, red, green and yellow. It’s also emblazoned with his infamous ‘Dench’ slogan, with the words ‘Frimpong is Dench’, along with the black star from the Ghana flag.  Are these the worst football boots ever? Probably. - Full Story via Metro

Manchester City and Manchester United are on collision course to meet in the Capital One Cup final – if they can see off West Ham and Sunderland in the semi-finals. United progressed to the last four of the competition by virtue of a 2-0 win at Stoke in a rain-disrupted match on Wednesday night, while City were already through after seeing off Championship Leicester on Tuesday. And they have now been drawn apart in the last four of the competition, meaning they could play each other in February’s final at Wembley. - Full Story via Standard Digital News

West Ham won 2-1 at Tottenham to make the draw after going behind to a goal by the recalled Emmanuel Adebayor. Strikes from Matt Jarvis and Modibo Maiga sent the Hammers through. It made for a disappointing start to the reign of caretaker Spurs boss Tim Sherwood. And Sunderland’s shock victory over Chelsea saw them land a tie with United as a reward. - Full Story via Standard Digital News

Emmanuel Adebayor has apologised to Spurs fans for a tweet that appeared to mock Tottenham’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday but said the photograph in question was taken before the match started. The out-of-favour striker and left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who is currently on loan at QPR, posted a picture of themselves smiling and posing (rather unfortunately making up the number five with their fingers) after the Reds’ rout at White Hart Lane. Assou-Ekotto captioned the picture on his Twitter account with the words: - Full Story via Metro

Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay won’t be given ‘a single penny’ to spend in the January transfer window, despite the Bluebirds’ precarious Premier League position. Mackay stated over the weekend he hoped to bring in three new faces at the turn of the year, with his side just four points clear of the relegation zone. But the club’s chief executive Simon Lim has today hit out at the Scot, insisting his comments have angered owner Vincent Tan and that no funds would be made available for January spending. - Full Story via Metro

PSG coach Laurent Blanc has reportedly been embroiled in a sexism row after mocking a female journalist who asked him about tactics. Blanc was asked about his decision to revert from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-3 by Swedish reporter Johanna Franden, of the Aftonbladet newspaper. But instead of giving his reasons, he belittled her by suggesting it is ‘beautiful’ for women to be talking about football. “I mean, women talking football tactics, it’s so beautiful,” he told her in a press conference. - Full Story via Metro

Facing Spanish giants Barcelona is not the fearsome prospect it once was, claims Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini. City have been handed a testing tie against the La Liga title holders in the last 16 of the Champions League. Pellegrini’s men might have avoided such a difficult task had they not misunderstood the group stage goal difference rules last week. City beat Bayern Munich 3-2 but Pellegrini failed to realise victory by one more goal would have secured top spot in their group and, theoretically, a more favourable draw. - Full Story via Metro

Manchester United boss David Moyes has taken a sideways swipe at Tottenham’s ruthless sacking policy insisting he feels lucky not to be working for a club with such an infamous fire and fire culture. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy axed coach Andre Villas-Boas yesterday following the 5-0 drubbing to Liverpool at White Hart Lane. The ruthless north London club have now gone through six managers in ten years with many pundits blaming impatience with their bosses for their lack of recent success. - Full Story via Metro

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed veteran trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will be offered new contracts at the club. The Blues stalwarts are currently contracted to Stamford Bridge until the end of the season. "It's a situation that doesn't worry me, doesn't worry the club and, I think, doesn't worry the players," Mourinho said. "Their desire to play for this club, nobody has doubts about it. We want them to feel free to express and to enjoy these last years of their careers. Everything is very calm and at the end of the season, probably before that, the club will sit with them, the offer will be on the table. - Full Story via ESPN