International News - Issue 206

Suarez Scoops Football Writers’ Association Player Of The Year
Luis Suarez has followed up his Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award by scooping the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) equivalent. Suarez earned 52 per cent of the vote, ahead of his Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure. Uruguay forward Suarez received just two votes in last year’s FWA poll after he sullied his already tainted disciplinary reputation by biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. But after serving a ten-game ban for that incident, Suarez has avoided controversy this term, with his mesmerising performances and 30 goals turning the Reds into shock Premier League title contenders. - Full Story via Metro

More disgusting scenes from La Liga to report this weekend, with Atletico Madrid fans shaming themselves this time. Levante’s Senegal midfielder Pape Diop was clearly seen being objected to racist abuse – in the form of monkey gestures – from a section of the Atletico travelling support towards the end of Sunday’s 2-0 victory for the hosts. Diop responded by dancing in front of the baying mob, prompting a mass brawl involving players from both teams, seemingly because the title-chasing Atleti players presumed the Senegalese player was rubbing their noses in the defeat. “They called me a monkey so I danced like one to draw attention,” Diop said. “I have nothing against the Atletico fans because it was only a section who chanted. It’s a lack of respect you get at all stadiums. It’s a provocation. I don’t know if you can call it racism but these monkey chants have to stop.” - Full Story via Metro

Arsene Wenger has given his most definitive answer to date on his Arsenal future, insisting he WILL still be manager next season. The Frenchman’s contract runs out at the end of the current campaign, and is yet to sign a two-year extension which is on the table. But when asked if he will be back to manage the club next season, following the 1-0 win over West Brom, Wenger replied with a definitive: “Yes, you’re not getting rid of me just yet.” The Gunners board and Wenger insist terms are already agreed, but it is believed the Frenchman is prolonging the official confirmation until after the FA Cup final against Hull on May 17, where Arsenal are bidding to end their nine-year trophy drought. - Full Story via Metro

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is hoping to sign several new players this summer – regardless of whether his side win the Premier League title. Rodgers says whatever happens over the next week he will strengthen this summer, and is confident some big players will be coming to Anfield as he looks to strengthen ahead of their Champions League campaign. “We will need to bring in players over the summer, and the great plus about being in the Champions League is that it makes it easier to attract the top ones, but we have developed a style of football over this past year that is already being recognised. - Full Story via Metro

Jose Mourinho delivered a heartfelt message to his son in his final Chelsea programme notes of the season. The Special One came over unusually emotional in his regular column for the Blues’ last home fixture of the campaign against Norwich. Mourinho’s character and style has taken stern criticism in recent weeks following a few unsavoury outbursts, but the Portuguese boss put his recent prickliness aside to deliver a touching tribute to his son, who has been a constant figure behind his father in the dugout at Stamford Bridge this season. - Full Story via Metro

The Coppa Italia final was thrown into chaos after two fans were shot and injured prior to the clash between Napoli and Fiorentina in Rome. The wounded men are believed to be Napoli supporters, but police confirmed the shootings were unrelated to the game and were instead opportunistic criminals taking advantage of the situation. However, the violence caused lengthy delays to the final, with unhappy Napoli fans launching flares, fireworks and smoke grenades onto the pitch. Captain Marek Hamsik eventually convinced the Ultras to calm down so the game could commence, and Napoli eventually ran out 3-1 winners – bagging Rafa Benitez another trophy for his cabinet. - Full Story via Metro

Oh dear. As if it was even possible, Manchester United’s miserable season has just got even worse. The Red Devils, limping to the Premier League finish line with Ryan Giggs in temporary charge, lost 1-0 to relegation threatened Sunderland at Old Trafford today. It’s a miserable result, and it seemingly all proved too much for Sir Alex Ferguson, who appeared to fall asleep in his seat. The cheeky nap was caught by a television camera in the closing stages of the game. Now, we can’t see his hands in this video, so can’t rule out that he was simply looking at his phone, but onlookers said he did doze off – and it’s probably just as well given the scoreline. - Full Story via Metro

They might be one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world, but Chelsea have shown that they have not forgotten those way down the footballing ladder. Indeed, the Premier League giants have agreed to donate their pitch at the end of the season to help out cash-strapped Aldershot Town of the Conference Premier. The Shots have put their current turf up to sale to raise money to charity, with the grass set to fetch £1 per meter for the British Legion and a local cancer hospital. And Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are ready to offer a free replacement, after promising to hand over their old pitch at the end of the campaign. - Full Story via Metro

Reading fans were left feeling a bit silly after their premature celebrations ended in tears at the Madejski Stadium. As the full-time whistle went to confirm Reading’s 2-2 draw with promoted Burnley, Royals fans streamed onto the pitch thinking the point had sealed their place in the play-offs. But their delight lasted a matter of seconds as the party atmosphere quickly turned sour when news filtered through of Leo Ulloa’s injury time goal for Brighton at Nottingham Forest, giving the Seagulls a last gasp 2-1 victory – enough to see them leapfrog Reading and pinch the final play-off spot. - Full Story via Metro

Loic Remy set tongues wagging at the Emirates after being spotted in the stands watching Arsenal’s win over West Brom. The QPR forward has been linked with a move to the Gunners, with his loan deal at Newcastle finishing at the end of the season, and Arsene Wenger has long been a fan of the 27-year-old Frenchman. Remy would be available for around £8million, and despite reported interest from other clubs, the striker’s attendance at the Emirates suggests he could be favouring a switch to North London. Wenger, however, denied that Remy had been invited to watch the game in his post-match press conference. “I have just been informed Loic Remy was here, I honestly did not know. I hope he paid for his ticket!” joked the Gunners boss. - Full Story via Metro

A fan wearing a Real Madrid shirt was shown the Nou Camp exit door after angering Barcelona fans during their 2-2 draw with Getafe. The supporter, who was wearing Real's famous white home shirt, sat among Barca fans but was soon spotted and subjected to chants and abuse. He quickly covered his shirt with a jacket, but a section of home fans whistled and shouted to make sure stadium security officials were aware of his presence. - Full Story via Daily Mail

Carlos Vela says he is keen to return to Arsenal this summer amid talk that the Gunners want to re-sign him from Real Sociedad. The 25-year-old has been a big hit since quitting the Emirates Stadium in 2012, proving himself as one of the best forwards in Spanish football. Arsene Wenger inserted a £3million buy-back clause in Vela’s contract when he was sold to Sociedad, and amid talk that the Frenchman wants him back, the forward has confirmed his interest in going back to north London. “I’m open to the idea of going back to Arsenal,” Vela said. “Arsenal could buy me back for £3million – a million more than Real Sociedad paid for me. - Full Story via Metro

A couple of years ago a rumour went around in the German press about Louis van Gaal’s ‘interesting’ half-time motivational technique at Bayern Munich. Apparently, during a dressing room row, the Dutchman dropped his trousers and told the players ‘you need some balls like these’.  Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis, who played for Bayern at the time and was in the dressing room, has confirmed it was TRUE. “You know about that?” He said when asked during an interview last week. “Well, I can confirm it is true but I don’t want to be the one to tell tales. It belongs in the dressing room and that’s where it should stay.” Yeah… he probably shouldn’t have confirmed it to a reporter though if it’s a secret…
- Full Story via Metro

Marcelo Bielsa has signed a two-year deal to become Olympique de Marseille’s head coach. The former French giants have been on the lookout for a new coach since December following the departure of Elie Baup, with Jose Anigo having done duty in the interim. Bielsa recently left Spanish side Athletic Bilbao, and will immediately start with his new job in charge of Marseille, who are struggling down in sixth place in the league, having finished as runners-up last season. Bielsa has also been in charge of the Argentinean and Chilean national teams. - Full Story via Kickoff

Fulham and Cardiff City were both relegated from the Premier League last Saturday following defeats to Stoke City and Newcastle United respectively. Fulham, who have spent 13 years in the topflight, started the day needing to beat the Potters to keep their hopes of survival alive. However, Sunderland's shock 1-0 victory at Manchester United sealed their fate. The Cottagers were beaten 4-1. Cardiff, meanwhile, lost 3-0 at Newcastle to ensure a swift return to the Championship following their promotion last term. - Full Story via Kickoff

Former Orlando Pirates coach Ruud Krol has won his second successive Tunisia Ligue 1 title. The Dutchman led CS Sfaxien to the trophy last year, and has now guided Esperance to their 26th title following a 1-0 win against US Monastir. Krol, who led the Buccaneers to a treble in 2010/11 before being unceremoniously dumped, becomes the first coach in Tunisian history to win the title with two different teams in successive years. - Full Story via Kickoff