International News - Issue 203

Costa Cleared for Chelsea Clash
Diego Costa’s participation against Chelsea in the Champions League was hanging in the balance after he was stretchered off with a horror injury in Sunday night’s victory over Getafe – but thankfully for Atletico Madrid, his manager has cleared him to face the Blues. The hitman, who earlier missed a penalty after some unorthodox supporter tactics, eventually scored by sliding in a cross late on, but clattered into the post on the follow through. Costa was left with a deep gash on his leg and had to be carried off the field, but manager Diego Simeone insists there’s no keeping his ‘tiger’ down. - Full Story via Metro

Lukas Podolski admits he is growing increasingly frustrated at getting hauled off by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The German, who has not completed a full 90 minutes since the Champions League second-leg at Bayern Munich at the start of March, was withdrawn again during Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Wigan. Podolski made way for Olivier Giroud as the Gunners searched for an equaliser in the 1-1 draw and, although he was pleased to see his side go through on penalties, he conceded the situation is getting to him. - Full Story via Metro

Mauro Icardi exacted revenge on a handshake snub from Maxi Lopez, by bagging a brace for Inter Milan and watching the Sampdoria striker miss a penalty. The one-time friends, who played together at Sampdoria, have been at the centre of a bizarre love triangle which ended with Icardi dating Lopez’s ex-wife Wanda Nara. Tensions were then ramped up before kick-off when Lopez snubbed Icardi’s hand in the line-ups. However, things once again turned sour for Lopez, who first saw Icardi give Inter the lead before going on to miss a penalty of his own five minutes later. - Full Story via Metro

Christian Eriksen has cast doubt over his Tottenham career after revealing he has a ‘secret plan’ about where his future lies. The Danish playmaker has been the stand-out summer signing for Spurs this season, adapting to life in the Premier League better than any of the raft of additions brought in by the club to replace Gareth Bale. Eriksen again came to Tottenham’s rescue in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at West Brom, scoring a dramatic late equaliser at the Hawthorns. However, while insisting he is enjoying his time on north London, the 22-year-old was cagey over his long-term future when quizzed by Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. - Full Story via Metro

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has insisted that the Bundesliga champions have no intention of selling Mario Mandzukic this summer. The Croatia international's future at Bayern is in doubt following the imminent arrival of Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund and clubs including Juventus, Arsenal and Chelsea are rumoured to be keeping close tabs on the 27-year-old. Nevertheless, Sammer has made it clear that Mandzukic will not be allowed to leave at the end of the season. "Nobody even has to bother making an approach for Mandzukic," Sammer told Sky90. - Full Story via Goal

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed he wishes to continue his career at Old Trafford next season. The 35-year-old has not been a consistent figure in the Red Devils’ starting line-up under David Moyes, yet insists he would like to remain at the club, despite his current contract expiring at the end of the campaign. When asked about his future while speaking as a pundit for BT Sport, the centre-back replied, “Hopefully still playing -- I want to continue playing. I'm enjoying my football and my legs haven't given way yet. I want to continue -- whether that be at Manchester United or somewhere else, depending on what the club want to do. Time will tell, we'll have to wait until the end of the season.” Ferdinand said nothing has been finalised and will have to wait until the end of the season to see where his future lies.” - Full Story via Kickoff

German outfit Borussia Dortmund recorded a well-earned 3-0 victory over Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to cement second place in the German standings, much to the delight of both the players and coach. Goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Jonas Hofmann secured the three points for Dortmund, inflicting Bayern’s first home defeat of the season at the Allianz Arena. “If you beat Bayern 3-0, then you can really speak of a near-perfect game,” said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp. - Full Story via Kickoff 

UEFA have cleared Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to play against his parent club Chelsea. After both clubs reaching the semi-final, it emerged that a clause in the loan agreement stipulated a fee of €3-million was to be paid to Chelsea if the goalkeeper were to play against the Blues. But UEFA have now moved to declare that stipulation null and void, declaring that it violated its articles on sporting integrity. The UEFA statement reads: "In response to media reports referring to the situation of Club Atletico de Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, UEFA would like to reiterate its position. Both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match. - Full Story via Kickoff

Hertha Berlin striker Adrian Ramos has been signed by Borussia Dortmund for an undisclosed fee. Ramos has signed a four-year-deal and will join Dortmund in July. The striker has been in good form for Hertha scoring 16 goals so far this season. With Robert Lewandowski leaving Dortmund to join Bayern Munich, the 28-year old is seen as his ideal replacement. - Full Story via Kickoff

Manchester United could offload winger Nani at the end of the season even though he signed a new 5-year-deal at the beginning of the season earning £95 000 per week. According to The Independent, the club are willing to offload him as he has been injured a lot and has failed to make an impact on the team having only made five starts. Last season Nani only made 11 appearances due to injury. Nani’s Italian agent Andrea Pastorello confirms that the player may leave England to rather play in Italy. “Nani is a very important player and at this time the only thing I can say is that he is likely to leave Manchester,” Pastorello told - Full Story via Kickoff

West Ham’s Mohamed Diame insists Liverpool are still in the hunt for his signature – two years after he was first denied a move to Anfield. The then-Wigan midfielder had allegedly agreed to join Kenny Dalglish’s side in 2012, but when the Scot was sacked that summer, his move fell through and he eventually signed for the Hammers. Diame, 26, has since shone at Upton Park, and has indicated he’s ready to make the step up to a top-six club, with Liverpool being top of his list. “Two years ago [before joining West Ham] I wanted to join a team with ambitions,” said Diame. - Full Story via Metro

Financially troubled Rangers have announced a new shirt sponsorship deal with online casino company 32Red. The Scottish club have signed a three-year contract with 32Red, having been previously backed by Blackthorn and Tennent Caledonian Breweries. The Scottish League One champions last month announced losses in the six months to January of £3.5m. Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace thought the new deal would be "hugely beneficial to both parties". "We are in the process of rebuilding Rangers Football Club and alliances with blue chip companies such as 32Red will assist us on our journey back to the top of Scottish football," he said in an announcement to the Stock Exchange. - Full Story via BBC

Bayern Munich have confirm signing Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt on a four-year-deal. The 23-year-old midfielder joins the club on a free transfer. Rode, who has made over 100 first-team appearances, told the Bayern Munich website: "I'm really happy that this transfer has been completed. Bayern is the next big step for me, I want to develop here and win a lot of titles with my future team-mates." Rode becomes Pep Guardiola's second summer signing after a deal for Robert Lewandowski in January. Rode's signing could be an indication that Toni Kroos is on the way out. - Full Story via Goal

Atletico Madrid can claim the title of the most advanced club in world football, after assistant coach German ‘El Mono’ Burgos became the first person to use Google Glass during a match. Atletico kept their La Liga dream alive with a 2-0 victory over Getafe last night and may have been helped on their way by the latest gadget to enter the game. Forget goal-line technology, the new fad is soon set to be Google’s invention which, developed alongside the Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP), allows coaches to get real-time statistics to closely monitor both their team and the opposition during a match. - Full Story via Metro