International News - Issue 267

Schweinsteiger Joins United For “New Experience”

Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has explained his reasons for leaving boyhood club for Premier League side Manchester United. The two clubs reached an agreement for the 30-year-old on Saturday in a deal worth a reported £12 million, as the German international departs from the club he joined as a youth product in 1998. And in an emotional open letter to the Bayern fans, Schweinsteiger has explained his move to England. "Dear fans,” he wrote on Twitter.”After 17 incredible years at FC Bayern, 15 national titles, winning the historical triple and uncountable other highlights that I was fortunate enough to experience with my incredible team, all you exceptional fans and the co-workers at Sabener Strasse and Allianz Arena, I have decided to take a new career step. This decision was very hard to make because you and FCB have, are and will always be an extremely important part of my life. Nevertheless, I would like to again gain experience at a new club. My destination is Manchester United. I hope you understand my decision. No one can take away the incredible journey we had together. #MiaSanMia." The experienced veteran won eight Bundesliga titles, seven German Cups and the 2012/13 Champions League crown with the Bavarians since his first team debut in 2002.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed their interest in Manchester United winger Angel Di Maria, while insisting that striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will remain in France. United’s record signing failed to deliver last season, netting just four goals in 33 appearances across all competitions, and has been linked to various European clubs, including French champions PSG, who confirmed their interest in the Argentine ace. Asked by L’Equipe if the Di Maria is a player he admires, coach Laurent Blanc replied, “Yes. We have our priorities... But to strengthen such a team you must target guys who are at big clubs and who are not easy to prise away. That’s hardest for PSG. Di Maria, he’s good. We have more freedom, but it remains a difficult project for us because we’re not alone in wanting him. When you see the financial power of the English clubs, they are attacking everyone. Competition is very, very tough. Don’t forget, Manchester United paid a fortune to sign him. For us to work effectively, we have to think of other solutions. We must be proactive.” Meanwhile, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked to a return to former Italian club AC Milan, yet Blanc insists he will remain in the French capital next season. “There was never any doubt of him staying!” he said. “I don’t attach any importance to rumours. For us it was very clear: Ibra was always part of the 2015-2016 squad.”

Chelsea have signed goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from Stoke City on a four-year contract for a reported £8 million. The Bosnia-Hercegovina international will battle Thibaut Courtois for the number one jersey at Stamford Bridge. Begovic is the champions' second signing of the summer following the arrival of Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan from Monaco. Begovic joined Stoke from Portsmouth in 2010, and had a year left on his previous deal with the Potters. The Blues sold long-serving keeper Petr Cech to Premier League rivals Arsenal earlier this month.

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has signed a new one-year contract with the club. Arteta, who joined the Gunners in 2011, only made 11 starts in all competitions last season as he struggled with injury. However, the 33-year-old has been kept on by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger. "He will stay with us for one more year because he has extended his contract," Wenger told the club's official website. "He's one of the leaders in the club because he's the captain of the team. I expect him to contribute much more than last season but he also faces a battle. With the number of games we have ahead, we could use his experience, his desire and his quality as it will be vital for next season."

German defender Mats Hummels is “honoured” by Manchester United’s interest but says he will not leave Borussia Dortmund this year. The 26-year-old, who has been heavily linked with a move to United, has two years left on his contract with BVB. “There have always been rumours about almost every one of our players, but I decided not to make the move this year,” Hummels told reporters in Singapore. “Of course when the big clubs are interested, and Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, it’s an honour. But I decided I wanted to stay here. I've been at Dortmund for a very long time, I haven't set a limit. It’s hard to say what future brings, but I'm still here after seven years," concluded the former Bayern Munich man.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has bid an emotional farewell to his Spanish club after confirming he will be joining Portuguese side FC Porto. The 34-year-old, who endured a less-than-consistent season last campaign, had long-since been rumoured to be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, and confirmed the news after calling a press conference on Sunday. "I have come to this great stadium today to say goodbye to all of you," he said. "Especially to the Madrid fans. As of Saturday I'm no longer a Real Madrid player, now I'll be a Porto player. I am moving to Porto for many reasons. Firstly I am joining Porto because of the excitement that the coach has transmitted to me. Secondly, because of their affection - they have won me over. I'll do everything I can to not disappoint them and fight as hard as possible to win as many titles as I possibly can there." Casillas has spent 25 years with the La Liga heavyweights, and was emotional in his speech as he thanked all those involved at the Galaticos. "This club didn't just teach me how to be a sportsman, it taught me how to be a person," he said. "I've learned a lot from all of my coaches. They have been a fundamental part of my development and my career. Every day we've been forming a part of Real Madrid and they've always supported me. I want to say thank you to my parents and all my family. Thank you to the Madrid fans for their unconditional support, helping me lift every cup, every triumph, for being with me in the good moments and the bad moments. For giving me a hand when I needed lifting up. I don't want to be remembered as a good goalkeeper or a bad goalkeeper, I just want to be remembered as a good person. Thank you. Thank you. A thousand thank yous. Wherever I go, I will always shout 'Hala Madrid!' I’m sure in the future we’ll see each other. I’m not going to say goodbye, because it’s not goodbye. I hope to see you soon. Thank you, to all of you." During his 15 years with the first team, Casillas won five La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, two European Super Cups, four Spanish Super Cups and lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy on three occasions.

Two-time Fifa World Player of the Year Ronaldinho has signed for Brazilian side Fluminense. The 35-year-old former Barcelona and AC Milan midfielder was released from his contract with Mexican side Queretaro last month. Big-spending Turkish side Antalyaspor – who have signed Samuel Eto’o – claimed at the end of June that the Brazilian had agreed personal terms with them, but the decorated star has apparently had a change of heart. Ronaldinho said he wants to try to win the Brazilian League, one of the few titles he still hasn't won in his glittering career. “It was one of the things that motivated me to return to Brazil, to try to win a trophy that I still don't have,” he said. Ronaldinho will join former Brazil striker Fred as well as highly rated youngsters Gerson and Marlon at Fluminense.

Orlando City are reportedly ready to smash the MLS salary record to bring Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez to the MLS. ‘Chicharito’ has fallen down the pecking order at United and spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, with a number of European clubs and other ambitious MLS clubs also interested. Orlando are believed to be ready to make the Mexico international the highest-paid player in the MLS on a salary of $10-million a year to join former AC Milan and Real Madrid attacker Kaka at the club. “Many clubs in MLS are working to have this guy,” Orlando owner Flavio Augusto told reporters. “But we are at the beginning of the conversation and, as you know, the less we talk about the situation, the better, because we are in the middle of negotiations. We hope in one or two weeks to be ready to talk about Chicharito in a different way.” MLS clubs are allowed to sign three Designated Players who can earn far above the player salary cap of around $430 000 a year. The average players earn between $50 000 and $250 000 a year.

Fenerbahce have completed the signing of Robin van Persie from Manchester United. Van Persie's transfer fee in rumoured to be 4.7 million euros (£3.4m, $5.2m). Van Persie, 31, made 105 appearances and scored 58 goals during his three years at Manchester United from August 2012. But his last season was marred by an ankle ligament injury and speculation of tension between himself and Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, who had guided Van Persie and his countrymen to third place in the World Cup. The Istanbul-based outfit last week recruited Portuguese winger Nani from the Red Devils.

Newcastle have signed Netherlands international Georginio Wijnaldum from PSV Eindhoven. The Magpies are believed to have forked out £14.5million for the midfielder, making him the club's third most expensive signing after retired England internationals Alan Shearer and Michael Owen. Wijnaldum joins compatriots Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Vurnon Anita and Siem de Jong at St Jame's Park.

Aston Villa have signed Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye from Lille. The 25-year-old, who has 24 international caps, has penned a four-year deal with the Villans. Gueye played 176 games in Ligue 1 over the past five seasons. "I'm really pleased to have brought Idrissa on board," Villa manager Tim Sherwood told the club's official website. "He's been one of the best young midfielders in France for the last few seasons and there were a lot of teams trying to sign him this summer. I believe we are signing a player who is hungry to succeed, is entering what should be his best years and is perfectly suited to the Premier League."

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has revealed his disappointment over the manner in which Raheem Sterling has conducted himself in recent months. The Reds youngster has been in the spotlight ever since rejecting a new deal with his Anfield club as he reportedly wanted a higher pay cheque, with latest reports suggesting he asked not to be included in Liverpool’s preseason tour in an attempt to leave the club. Having missed training on Thursday for allegedly taking ill, his former captain Gerrard – now at LA Galaxy – has voiced his opinion over the 20-year-old’s antics. "I'm not happy with all that carry-on and I don't think there's any need for it," he told Sky Sports News regarding the player’s situation with Liverpool’s management. "They all need to be men about the situation. Raheem needs to go in and speak to the owners and to Brendan [Rodgers] himself, tell them what he wants and go about it that way. You don't have to throw illnesses in and refuse to go on tour. There are millions and millions of Liverpool fans around the world who are itching to see Raheem Sterling in a Liverpool kit. So I don't think it's fair on them if he is behaving like that.” Gerrard feels it would be best for the talent to remain on Merseyside, yet reveals he has been left disappointed at the situation that has clouded his former teammate’s future. "He's not flavour of the month with Liverpool fans at the moment, I can't blame them for it, they've shown him great support and they all believe the best place for him to be is at Liverpool and I firmly believe that as well,” Gerrard continued. "It is very difficult for me to support Raheem and the people around him for what they are trying to do with his contract and his career at a young age. I am slightly disappointed in the that situation, in how far it's gone and what it's come to, because I can see no other way, only out for him at the moment."

Brazil legend Rivaldo marked his comeback from retirement with victory – yet only after he was substituted off. The 43-year-old Selecao star last month announced he would be returning to the pitch to help Brazil’s Serie B club Mogi Mirim – which he owns – fight their way out of the relegation zone. True to his word, the 2002 World Cup winner started himself in a league match against Nautico on Tuesday, returning to the football field for the first time in 15 months. Rivaldo had a free-kick saved and hit a shot from range well wide, before being substituted in the 68th minute with his side 1-0 down. Yet Mogo Mirim were level two minutes later as Serginho equalised before netting the winner in the 88th minute as his side celebrated their first win of the season. However, they still remain bottom of the Brazilian first division with just six points from their first 11 games. Rivaldo was pleased with his efforts in his side’s win as they look to climb up the standings. “After one year and three months, I started training back again and went out to play at a match after just 20 days and that inspires any younger player,” he said. “I helped the team get out of this predicament. We are still in a difficult situation and we are doing our best to get out of it.”

Tottenham have completed the signing of defender Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid. The Belgium international, who spent last season on loan at Southampton, has penned a five-year contract in north London. The 26-year-old is Spurs' third recruit of the summer after fellow defenders Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier.

New Barcelona signing Arda Turan is relishing the prospect of playing alongside Lionel Messi, who he considers to be the best player in history. Turan, 28, completed a €41 million move to Barca from Atletico Madrid on Monday. The Turkish attacker won five trophies in a four-year spell at the Vicente Calderon. "Messi is simply the best ever, it's an honour to wear the same shirt and play alongside him. My idol was always Maradona but the current player that I idolise is Iniesta," Turan said. "Being part of Barcelona means a lot. It is my dream, a reward for the work that I have culminated through my career. It means everything. I’m ready for the challenge of playing at Barca. I think a lot about my possibilities and those of my team-mates. I’m sure they will help me adapt. Clearly Barca do things differently to other clubs. As players, these values, on and off the pitch, are the systems, the aspects, the style of play…In short, the club is a team on and off the pitch. "My goals are not individual but that of the team, these players and the system. I’m sure I can do more and improve my stats. The important thing is to integrate into the team and the system of Luis Enrique."

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan is set to become one of the highest paid footballers in the world as he looks set to join Chinese club Shanghai SIPG. The 29-year-old has spent the last four years at Emirati champions Al Ain, scoring 95 goals in 83 matches, but is now on the brink of joining the Chinese Super League club managed by former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. Gyan was reportedly earning £160,000 a week at Al Ain, and according to Xinhua news agency Sport 360, the former Udinese and Sunderland striker will receive an increase of £67 000 a week, making his weekly earnings £227 000. This figure puts Gyan in the top ten footballer salaries in the world, but is a far cry from top-earner Cristiano Ronaldo and second-placed Lionel Messi, reportedly (though figures vary) on £650 000 and £645 000-a-week respectively.

Former Chelsea and Manchester City dead-ball specialist Frank Lampard says new teammate Andrea Pirlo can have priority over free-kicks at New York City FC. The 37-year-old was on Tuesday officially unveiled by his new MLS team, joining big name stars David Villa and Pirlo in the 'Big Apple'. Both are known for their superb abilities in dead-ball situations, and Lampard says he is honoured to be playing alongside the star Spanish striker and Italian midfielder. "David and Andrea are at the top of the list, I'm a lucky man to be in the same squad as them," he told reporters at his unveiling. "I've been watching all the games. I know every player and how they play. It will be a pleasure to play with them every day.” Lampard feels Pirlo is the best at taking free-kicks, saying the veteran Italian can take the first one that comes the team’s way. "I think Pirlo is the best at getting his ball to dip and dive off the free kick,” the English midfielder said. “He can have the first one!"

Manchester United have completed the signing of midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton. Schneiderlin, 25, has penned a four-year contract with the club with the option of a further year. The France international scored 15 times in 253 outings for the Saints since his debut in 2008. Schneiderlin told his new team's website: "I am delighted to be a Manchester United player. Once I learned that United were interested in signing me, it was a very easy decision to make. I have enjoyed seven very happy years with Southampton and it’s a club that will always be in my heart. But the chance to be part of this squad to help this great club be successful was too good to miss. I’m excited to be starting that journey on our trip to the USA. I know what Manchester United means to fans all over the world and I’m looking forward to experiencing that." United manager Louis van Gaal added: "Morgan is a very talented player with great energy and ability. His skills will complement the players that we already have and I am very pleased that we have been able to complete this deal before the tour to the United States. That training camp will be very important in our preparations for the new season and gives Morgan and the other players a chance to show our fans what they can achieve together."

Liverpool started their preseason training without striker Mario Balotelli, who was absent following the death of his adopted father. The 24-year-old was given compassionate leave to return to Italy for the funeral of Francesco Balotelli, who passed on following a lengthy illness. Francesco and wife Silvia adopted Mario, who was born to Ghanaian immigrants in Palermo, when he was put into foster care at the age of three. He grew up in the Balotelli household in the northern Italian town of Concesio, spending his youth career at Lumezzane before being snapped up by Inter Milan, and then going on to feature for Manchester City, AC Milan and now Liverpool.

Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco have secured the services of AC Milan winger Stephan El Shaarawy. The 22-year-old joins the Principality club on a one year loan deal, with a mandatory option to buy. ‘The Pharaoh’ leaves his Italian club after four years, having joined from Genoa as a youth product. Despite an injury-blighted campaign last season, El Shaarawy has made 102 appearances for the Rossoneri, scoring 27 goals, his most fruitful season coming two years ago when he netted 19 goals in all competitions. However, Milan have decided to restructure their side following a disastrous tenth-place finish last season, bringing in the likes of attacking players Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano, therefore allowing their young talisman to leave.

Premier League club Leicester City have appointed Italian tactician Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach. The experienced coach replaces Nigel Pearson, who was sacked last month after four years at the helm, despite saving the Foxes from relegation last season. Ranieri revealed his delight at joining the Premier League outfit. “I'm so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City," Ranieri told the club's official website. “I have worked at many great clubs, in many top leagues, but since I left Chelsea I have dreamt of another chance to work in the best league in the world again. I wish to thank the owner, his son and all the executives of the club for the opportunity they are giving me. Now I've only one way for returning their trust: squeeze all my energies to getting the best results for the team.” The 63-year-old has taken charge of various top sides across Europe including Chelsea, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Roma, Inter and Monaco.

The Federated States of Micronesia lost their last Pacific Games encounter 46-0 to Vanuatu, and have now conceded 114 goals in their last three games, and scored none. Micronesia were no match for their counterparts, ranked 200th in the latest Fifa rankings themselves, with Jean Kaltak netting 16 goals in the lopsided victory. The loss follows a 38-0 defeat to Fiji and a 30-0 loss to Tahiti in their other group matches, as Micronesia exited the competition, hosted in Papua New Guinea, without scoring a goal. Victors Vanuata were also dumped out of the tournament after group opponents Fiji and Tahiti played out a goalless draw. However, as the Pacific Games are part of the Olympic qualifiers for Rio 2016 and Tahiti are not a member of the International Olympic Committee, Vanuatu still went through to the Olympic play-offs and now face New Zealand in the semi-finals. The 46-0 scoreline is not a world record for full international matches however, as the Pacific Games is an U-23 tournament. The biggest win in international football thus remains the 31-0 scoreline when Australia beat American Samoa in a 2002 World Cup qualifier in 2001.

Ghana star, Asamoah Gyan is set to become one of the world’s highest-paid players - here is the current top 10 and where he would break into it. Gyan is reportedly close to moving from UAE club Al Ain to Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. According to reports, the 29-year-old will reportedly earn a whopping £227 000 per week at the side, managed by former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson. With this figure, he would end up in eighth place among the planet’s current best earners.

Here the top 10 earners (wages are reported salaries before tax):
1) Cristiano Ronaldo - £650 000 (R12.5 million)
2) Lionel Messi - £645 000 (R12.4 million)
3) Zlatan Ibrahimovic - £410 000 (R7.9 million)
4) Gareth Bale - £320 000 (R6.2 million)
5) James Rodriguez - £305 000 (R5.9 million)
6) Wayne Rooney - £250 000 (R4.8 million)
7) Robin van Persie - £250 000 (R4.8 million)
8) Sergio Aguero - £220 000 (R4.2 million)
9) Yaya Toure - £210 000 (R4 million)
10) Luis Suarez - £205 000 (R3.9 million)

Premier League club Crystal Palace on Friday confirmed the signing of French international Yohan Cabaye form Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. “Crystal Palace Football Club are delighted to confirm the signing of French international midfielder Yohan Cabaye from Paris Saint Germain for a club record fee, subject to international clearance,” read a statement on the club’s official website. The 29-year-old joined on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee, having spent just a year-and-a-half in Paris after signing from Newcastle United for approximately £20 million in January 2014. Cabaye, who is now re-united with Alan Pardew at Selhurst Park having scored 18 goals in 93 appearances under the manager in his three years with the Magpies, revealed his delight in returning to England. “I’m happy to be here,” he told his new club’s website. “I’ve been waiting for the decision, had the medical and now I can’t wait to focus on my new team, a new season and my new life. I wanted to come and play for Palace because there are some really strong players here. They finished very well last season and I think they can compete to get into the top eight.  I also know the gaffer and have worked with him before and I’m confident with him. I want to do my best for him because he’s made a big effort to get me to come here, as well as the Chairman, so I have to say a big thank you to both of them.” Cabaye has won 34 caps for France, having featured for les Bleus at the Euro 2012 and 2014 World Cup tournaments. The Frenchman may travel with his new club to South Africa at the end of the month, with Palace involved in the preseason Cape Town Cup which includes PSL duo SuperSport United and Ajax Cape Town, as well as Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon.

Argentina striker Carlos Tevez received a hero’s welcome after being presented in front of the Boca Juniors faithful on Monday night. The 31-year-old returns to the club 11 years after his departure, having spent three years in their first team after graduating from the club’s youth structures. An estimated 40 000 fans filled the Bombonera Stadium on Monday night for Tevez’s unveiling, with the former Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United striker asking his club prior to his presentation that the entrance fee for fans be a donation of a non-perishable food item for the 'Bichito de Luz' poor neighbourhood, where he was born. Tevez revealed his delight at returning home to Argentina, having won five league titles in Europe, along with the 2007/08 Champions League. "When I left Boca I was 20 years old," he said. "Now, at 31, I'm bigger, more experienced, and I need to be an example for the youngest players. I'm back in my best form at the moment. I have been thinking about coming back here for a year.” Tevez is set to play his first match against Quilmes on Saturday and is raring to go, while also stating that he did not return to replace another Boca Juniors legend Juan Roman Riquelme. "Juan Roman Riquelme is my friend. He is the biggest - the idol of Boca. I'm here to write my story, not to replace him." Tevez scored 50 goals in 96 matches for former club Juventus, helping them to the league and Cup double in Italy last season.

Juan Roman Riquelme has said that his playing days are over and has criticised Boca Juniors, the club he supports and where he first caught everyone's eye. On the rumours of a potential return to football at the age of 37, Riquelme stressed: "Am I going to return? Where? What to? I've done everything I wanted. I've been very happy as a player. I'm no longer a professional player. I retired". When analysing the current state of affairs with 'Los Xeneizes', the former Argentina international said: "You must win the important games and Boca lost them all this year. It was the worst season in the last 20 years because River eliminated them twice". "I felt really embarrassed by the way we were knocked out. The people who are running the club must provide security to the opposition players and they didn't receive it", he added in another hard attack on the directors of Boca Juniors. "As a fan I'm very happy to be able to enjoy watching Carlitos play for Boca", Riquelme said in relation to the return of Carlos Tevez.

Barcelona defender Dani Alves has criticised Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo over his desire for personal glory. Ronaldo scored a pesonal-best of 61 goals despite Madrid not winning any silverware last season, while Lionel Messi scored 58 goals in a treble-winning campaign with Barca. Speaking to ESPN Brazil, the Brazilian international criticised the 30-year old Portguese attacker during a comparison with Messi. ""Messi is much better than Cristiano Ronaldo," Alves said. "Messi has an influence on the play and Cristiano doesn't. See if [Ronaldo] has an influence on the play beyond scoring goals and appearing in certain moves. Messi is influential, he plays and assists. Messi has a divine gift." Last season Ronaldo face criticism as he appeared somewhat cheerless when his teammates scored, as opposed to when he himself found the back of the net. Alves feels Ronaldo is less of a team player, which he particularly does not admire about the former Manchester United star. "He has things that I do not admire because I play for the team. I think that my team is more important than me. I think he cares little for what really matters, which is the collective side of the game. So much so that some criticised us during the celebration of titles while he celebrated the Pichichi (top league goalscorer award)," he added.

Dutch legend Marco van Basten has been appointed assistant coach of the Netherlands. The former AC Milan star will aid Danny Blind, who moved into the hotseat on July 1 following Guus Hiddink's resignation last month. The 50-year-old previously coached Holland from 2004 to 2008, while as a player he inspired his country to European Championship honours in 1988.