International News - Issue 194




Ribery Out Of Champions League Clash Against Arsenal
Arsenal have been handed a boost ahead of their Champions League first-leg clash with Bayern Munich after Franck Ribery was ruled out with a bum injury. The France international underwent a ‘minor operation’ to repair a burst blood vessel in his buttock last Thursday, and the club confirmed the procedure had been a success. However, the Champions League holders also conceded that the 30-year-old would only return to training next week and will miss the meeting with Arsenal at the Emirates on February 19. - Full Story via Metro

Arsenal could lose the Premier League title to Chelsea or Manchester City and their right-back may follow after Bacary Sagna reportedly turned down a new contract. The France international, who turns 31 on Friday, is out of contract in the summer and is said to have rejected a new deal after becoming frustrated the Gunners took so long to come to the negotiating table. With Sagna available on a free at the end of the season. Reserve goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski will also move on when his contract expires in the summer, with the 28-year-old keen on regular first-team football. - Full Story via Metro

Javier Hernandez has sparked speculation that he will quit Manchester United this summer by posting a cryptic message on his Instagram page. The Mexican striker, who replaced Ashley Young after 69 minutes in United’s 2-2 draw with Fulham, posted a picture in the aftermath of the setback at Old Trafford with the accompanying message: ‘The time to speak about so many things will come…’ Hernandez was linked with a move away from the faltering league champions in January, but chose to stay and fight for his place, according to his father. - Full Story via Metro

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli was reduced to tears in his side’s 3-1 loss to Napoli over the weekend, yet coach Clarence Seedorf has defended his star player. The controversial forward was substituted in the 73rd minute, and was seen shedding tears as he sat down on the bench after his lacklustre performance. Yet Milan coach Clarence Seedorf said the 23-year-old had merely let his emotions get away from him, and has insisted he will get the best out of the talented frontman. - Full Story via Kickoff Nigeria

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart admits he and his teammates were battling to contain their fear during an aggressive fan protest over the weekend. Around 300 supporters chanted abuse and hurled missiles at the club's team bus following the side's 3-0 home loss to Hertha Berlin on Saturday. "Attacking players is not the point, not at all," Van der Vaart told Bild. "We players were afraid of the fans. - Full Story via Kickoff

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has revealed he will leave the Red Devils at the end of the season. The Serbian, who has been a regular fixture at the back for the English champions since his arrival from Spartak Moscow in 2006, will not renew his contract which expires in June. “It’s the last year of my contract and I have had eight wonderful years here,” Vidic told United’s official website in a statement released early last Friday morning. “My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career." - Full Story via Kickoff

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has been handed a three-game suspension after seeing red in his side's 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on the weekend. Ronaldo was sent off for confronting opposition players Carlos Gurpegi and Ander Iturraspe in a heated tussle. Following a Spanish competition committee meeting, La Liga officials revealed the Ballon d’Or winner’s punishment was a three-match ban – one for raising a hand, and another two for gestures he made while leaving the field, which were deemed to be a “disconsideration”. - Full Story via Kickoff

Ethiopia have fired coach Sewnet Bishaw following the country's dismal run at the recent African Nations Championship. The Walyas failed to score in three games at the CAF showpiece, which is an event reserved for home-based footballers. Bishaw took over the side for the second time in 2011, and two years later steered the east Africans to their first Africa Cup of Nations showing in three decades. - Full Story via Kickoff

Nigeria are scheduled to take part in a pre-World Cup eight-team tournament alongside Spain and Ivory Coast. The competition tagged 'Road to Brazil' which is being organized by the Major League Soccer (MLS) will take place in the United States between May 27 to June 10. Other countries scheduled to take part in the competition are; Nigeria's Group F opponents in the World Cup, Bosnia-Herzegovania. - Full Story via Kickoff

Yaya Toure has been spared a three-match ban by a single vote after a three-man panel could not reach a unanimous decision that his kick on Norwich’s Ricky van Wolfswinkel was an act of violent conduct. The decision will enrage Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who called on the Football Association to suspend the Manchester City star following Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Carrow Road. “If he is not suspended the message is clear – you can do what you want,” said Mourinho. - Full Story via Metro

Olivier Giroud says his France team-mate Hugo Lloris is keen on leaving Tottenham for Arsenal. Gunners striker Giroud is close friends with the Spurs goalkeeper, who has apparently admitted he would be willing to cross the north-London divide. “We go out together and talk about everything,” Giroud told a French television station. “We talk about life and sometimes the French team a bit and our wish to have a great experience together at the World Cup. - Full Story via Metro

Wilfried Zaha has aimed a very thinly veiled dig at Manchester United manager David Moyes on his Instagram page. The England Under-21 winger, currently on loan at Cardiff, posted a picture of of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer giving him a few words of advice on the touchline along with the caption: ‘Nothing like someone who believes in you…’ Zaha later deleted the caption but not before he got plenty of abuse from United fans urging the youngster to think a little bit more before uploading messages on social media. - Full Story via Metro

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley admits he has not found it easy to stomach criticism from some fans, and feels he is being made a scapegoat for the club's indifferent form this season. During a Twitter forum with team mate Michael Carrick, a Red Devils fan asked his compatriot, “If you could drop one player from the team, how do you tell Cleverley?” while another asked Carrick, “Do you watch Cleverley train to feel good about yourself?”  - Full Story via Metro

Egyptian goalkeeper Mahdi Soliman was forced to take to the field in a Liverpool shirt at the weekend after Ghazl Mahalla’s kitman left his top behind ahead of the match with Al Ahly. There have been a series of kitman blunders in recent months across English football and it now appears to be spreading globally. But fortunately for Soliman, the error was spotted ahead of the 1-0 defeat, giving him time to nip into a sports store and purchase a new top – to which the club’s own McDonald’s sponsor was added. - Full Story via Metro