International News - Issue 192




Mata Thanks Chelsea After Signing For United. New Manchester United signing Juan Mata has written to his former club Chelsea thanking them for the time he spent in London. The Spanish midfielder switched alliances at the weekend, joining the Red Devils for a club-record fee of £37.1million. “Thank you so much for the way you have treated me, you have been unbelievable,” Mata wrote on his personal blog. “I hope you understand that after going through a complicated and, for me, new situation in the last few months, I believe this is the best choice in order to carry on with my football career and to keep enjoying this sport.” - Full Story via Kickoff

Everton’s Brian Oviedo suffered what appeared to be a double fracture of his left leg during Everton's 4-0 victory over Stevenage in the FA Cup on Saturday. The 23-year-old's studs caught in the turf during a routine challenge in the 16th minute on a rain-soaked night at the Lamex Stadium, and the player had to receive swift attention and be stretchered off the field. Oviedo's injury is also a blow to Costa Rica, who are in the same group as England for the 2014 World Cup. - Full Story via The Guardian

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has resigned from his position amidst allegations of misappropriation of funds in the deal that brought Brazilian star Neymar to the club. His exit comes after Barca club member Jordi Cases filed a lawsuit in a Spanish court against Rosell, who is accused of paying out more than the reported fee in the deal that brought Neymar to Barcelona last June. Rosell consistently insisted that the Neymar deal with Brazilian side Santos was worth 57 million euros, yet refused to divulge how much each party received, and it is alleged that the former president paid 40 million euros to a business owned by Neymar and his father called N&N. - Full Story via Kickoff

Southampton have suspended Italian striker Dani Osvaldo for two weeks following a training ground bust-up with defender Jose Fonte on last Thursday morning. Reports reveal that the 28-year-old reacted to Fonte’s constant harassment during a practice match, as teammates had to separate the pair after an altercation which left the Portuguese centre-back with minor facial injuries. An emergency disciplinary hearing was held, with the club suspending their problematic striker for two weeks. It is not the first time that Osvaldo has been punished for misdemeanours. - Full Story via Kickoff Nigeria

Juventus central-midfielder Arturo Vidal feels that he is currently the best box-to-box midfielder in the world. The 26-year-old has been a key player for the Italian league leaders this season, contributing 10 goals and five assists in his 20 appearances thus far. And the current Juventus Player of the Year believes that on current form, he is the best in his position. "Why am I playing so well? Well that's simple. Because in my role I am the best in the world. Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing – I'm the best in the world. In my role, no-one defends like me or scores as many goals as me.” - Full Story via Kickoff

Manchester United have not only slipped down the Premier League table, but are now fourth in the Deloitte Football Money League standings, sitting out of the top three for the first time since the table was compiled in 1997. The Money League is a table put together by professional services company Deloitte listing football’s top-earning clubs based on their annual income.

FOOTBALL MONEY LEAGUE TOP 10 
Revenue in 2012/13 (in million euros)
1. Real Madrid (Spain) – 519m
2. Barcelona (Spain) – 483m
3. Bayern Munich (Germany) – 431m
4. Manchester United (England) – 424m
5. Paris St Germain (France) – 399m
6. Manchester City (England) – 316m
7. Chelsea (England) – 303m
8. Arsenal (England) – 284m
9. Juventus (Italy) – 272m
10. AC Milan (Italy) – 264m

Real Madrid retained their spot at the top of the list for the 2012/13 season, as they recorded a revenue of 519 million euros last year. Spanish rivals Barcelona came in second, 36 million euros behind, followed by treble-winning Bayern Munich in third.

Colombia’s World Cup hopes were dealt a huge blow as star striker Radamel Falcao was stretchered off the field in Monaco's Coupe de France clash with Monts d'Or Azergues. The injury occurred late in the first half when the forward was tackled from behind, just 10 minutes after he gave his side the lead in Wednesday's French Cup tie. Falcao was in visible pain, and exited proceedings with his head in his hands. - Full Story via Kickoff

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo has apologised for a statement he made two years ago which he feels gave many people a poor impression of his character. The Real Madrid striker, on coming off the field in his club’s 1-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb in September 2011, was angered by his opponents' rough-tackling and his failure to score, and was quoted as saying “it's because I'm rich, handsome and a great player. They envy me - there's no other explanation”. Yet in a recent interview with France Football, the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner expressed remorse over the comment. - Full Story via Kickoff

Former Tottenham striker Mido has been appointed manager of his hometown club Zamalek, becoming the youngest head coach in Egyptian top-flight history. Mido, who turns 31 next month, has no previous coaching experience. He succeeds Helmi Toulan, who was sacked after the team's 1-1 draw with Haras El-Hodoud 1-1 in the league. "We have officially appointed Mido as the first team new head coach," the club said in a statement on their official website. Mido enjoyed a fine playing career, representing the likes of Ajax Amsterdam and Spurs, while he scored 19 goals in 51 appearances for the Pharaohs. - Full Story via Kickoff

Swansea City have signed Bolton's former Liverpool striker David N'Gog. The 24-year-old's contract was due to run out this summer and Michael Laudrup has moved to snap him up for an undisclosed fee. Laudrup went for the striker as he looks to bolster his forward line following injury to Michu. - Full Story via The Independent

Yohan Cabaye looks to be on his way to Paris Saint-Germain after Newcastle United reached an agreement with the French giants. The midfielder was subject of the £14million bid from PSG which the Magpies rejected on Sunday. Newcastle valued the 28-year-old at more than £20m but are rumoured to have accepted £19m. However, it is now understood an agreement in principle has been reached and PSG will now seek to tie up a deal subject to personal terms and a medical before Friday’s deadline. Toon boss Alan Pardew admitted on Monday afternoon he was not confident of keeping hold of the France international. - Full Story via Metro

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien says AC Milan’s new manager Clarence Seedorf persuaded him to leave Chelsea and join the Italian club after a telephone conversation. Seedorf, who took over as the coach of the Serie A giants two weeks back, is keen on building a squad capable of winning title after a sloppy start to the season. He phoned the Ghanaian last Wednesday over the possibility of joining the club as the midfielder was struggling for playing time at Chelsea. Essien arrived in Milan on Friday to seal the deal subject to medical. - Full Story via Ghana Soccer Net

West Ham have announced the signing of AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino on loan until the end of the season. Manager Sam Allardyce also completed the signing of striker Marco Borriello on loan from Roma, also until the end of the season. Nocerino, 28, is an Italy international who scored one of the penalties that knocked out England at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2012. He began his career at Juventus, before spending time on loan at Genoa, Messina and Piacenza before joining Palermo in 2008. - Full Story via The Guardian

Arsene Wenger has agreed a new contract to remain as Arsenal manager, chief executive Ivan Gazidis has confirmed. Gazidis says an agreement is in place but an announcement on the finer details of the Frenchman’s new deal will be made at another time. Speaking at a press conference to confirm the club’s new kit deal with Puma, Gazidis said: “Arsene will be extending and at the right time we will make that announcement.” Although no official figures were confirmed today, the kit deal with Puma has been described as ‘the biggest deal in Puma and Arsenal’s history’. - Full Story via Metro

Liverpool have identified on-loan Rayo Vallecano midfielder Saul Niguez as their latest January transfer target after scouts watched his display against Atletico Madrid. The Spanish Under-21 international endured a torrid time in front of the Reds’ scouts however, playing out of position at centre-half where he was booked and scored an own goal as he tried to keep Diego Costa under wraps. - Full Story via Metro

Manchester United’s long-standing hopes of signing Leighton Baines have been dealt a huge blow after the left-back put pen to paper on a new four-year deal with Everton. Baines’ future at Goodison Park has been the subject of speculation for some time, with former boss David Moyes keen to see him follow Marouane Fellaini to Old Trafford. But Everton manager Roberto Martinez has remained confident of keeping the England international at Goodison Park, with Baines confirming his commitment to the Toffees with a long-term contract. - Full Story via Metro

Chelsea have completed the signing of Mohamed Salah from Basel. The Blues had announced on Thursday an agreement to sign the 21-year-old Egyptian winger, subject to the agreement of personal terms and the signing of a medical, and before Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie with Stoke the club confirmed the deal has been concluded. The deal is for a reported fee of £11 million as Chelsea signed the forward ahead of Liverpool. - Full Story via ESPN

Reports in Spain suggest that the Blues have agreed to meet Diego Costa's £32m buy-out clause in at the end of the season. Exuberant agent Francois Gallardo, who has a reputation for making controversial claims about transfers, insists Atletico eventually succumbed after accepting that they would not be able to hold onto the Brazilian-born Spanish international. - Full Story via Express

The FA Cup fifth round draw has delivered two top-class ties. Liverpool face a tough assignment away to English Premiership leaders Arsenal, while Chelsea have the seemingly impossible task of stopping the Manchester City juggernaught at the Etihad Stadium. And with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur already knocked out in the fourth round, it’s very likely that the winner of either of these ties could go all the way and lift the trophy.

FULL DRAW
Manchester City vs Chelsea
Sheffield United or Fulham vs Nottingham Forest or Preston North End
Arsenal vs Liverpool
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Hull City
Cardiff City vs Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday vs Charlton Athletic
Sunderland vs Southampton
Everton vs Swansea City

An estimated 2 500 Brazilians took to the streets of Sao Paulo to protest the hosting of the 2014 World Cup as police detained 128 people. Protests turned to riots when damage was done to shops, cars and banks as sections of the Brazilian population continue to stage anti-World Cup demonstrations in the build-up to Brazil 2014. Chants of "There will be no Cup" could be heard as angry protesters held aloft banners and marched through the streets of Sao Paulo, while some festivities arranged to mark the city’s 460th birthday had to be cancelled. - Full Story via Kickoff

Manchester United have rejected advances from Paris St-Germain for wonder-kid Adnan Januzaj. Old Trafford manager David Moyes swiftly dismissed the enquiry from the billionaire owners of the French club and told them the talented teenager is not for sale. Januzaj’s game has rapidly developed this season and he is one of the hottest properties in Europe after a series of hugely impressive games for United, even though the team have struggled. Moyes regards the 18-year-old as one of the cornerstones of his red revolution alongside Wayne Rooney and club-record signing Juan Mata, who completed his £37.1million switch from Chelsea at the weekend. - Full Story via Metro