International News - Issue 284



Arsene Wenger And Jamie Vardy Claim Monthly Awards

English Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy has been named October's player of the month, while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has won the manager of the month award. Vardy has scored nine Premier League games in a row, one short of Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of netting in ten straight games, which he will look to match against Newcastle after the international break. Wenger’s side sit joint top of the Premier League after seeing off Manchester United, Watford, Everton and Swansea in October as the Frenchman picked up his second manager of the month award in 2015 and 15th during his career. The Gunners scored 11 goals in these four wins and conceded only once and pipped Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri and Manchester City's Manuel Pellegrini to the award. Only Sir Alex Ferguson can boast of having more manager of the month awards than Wenger, with the former Manchester United boss claiming the prize 27 times.

Italy coach Antonio Conte has dropped a serious hint that talisman Andrea Pirlo may not be in his future plans for the national team. The decorated playmaker, who joined New York City FC from Italian giants Juventus earlier this year, was not included in Italy’s latest squad for upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Romania, and featured in just three of the Azzurri’s ten Euro 2016 qualifiers. National team coach Conte, who was Pirlo’s manager at club level with the Old Lady, says the deadball specialist’s lack of gametime following the conclusion of the MLS season was a major factor in his omission from the team, yet feels that age is not on the former Milan and Juve midfielder’s side. "The absence was expected, he had stopped playing for more than two weeks and there is the need for me to make assessments," Conte said, pointing to the fact that Pirlo’s last game for New York City was on 25 October. "He is a player who I hold in high regard, but I must be cold in my analysis. "We will see how he is, but he will be 37 in May. I have to start to look around and consider the possibility that I can't take him to the European Championships." Pirlo, who has 116 international caps to his name, helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup in Germany, while aiding his team in reaching the Final of the last European Championships in 2012. Since joining New York City, Pirlo has failed to score in 13 appearances for the MLS side, who endured a disastrous campaign, finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference with just 10 wins from 34 games.

Real Sociedad have announced the sacking of British manager David Moyes and his assistant coach following a poor series of results. Sociedad have picked up just nine points from a possible 33 in the first 11 La Liga games and are 16th on the table, above the relegation zone only on goal-difference. “Real Sociedad have decided to cancel the contract of first-team coach David Moyes. His assistant Billy McKinley was also released from the Txuri Urdin,” said a club statement. “The Txuri Urdin entity would like to thank both David Moyes and Billy McKinlay for their contribution, professionalism and dedication they have shown during their time in charge of the first team, and wish them all the best in their professional and personal futures.” Moyes made his name following a relatively successful spell at Everton but has been sacked at his last two jobs – Manchester United and now Sociedad.

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard feels his former team’s poor start to the season is a reason for serious concern, and hopes they can turn the corner soon. The Blues lost their seventh League game of the campaign, going down 1-0 to Stoke City on Saturday night, and Lampard – now at MLS side New York City FC – feels their run is more than just a bump in the road, feeling serious change is needed soon. "This is far from a blip, they are losing games regularly," Lampard told Sky Sports. "They need to turn the corner very quickly. They can't dwell on it, they need to get out of it and put it to bed." Despite last weekend’s loss, Lampard feels Chelsea showed signs of getting back on track against the Potters. "I saw glimpses of what they need to turn the corner," he said. "I couldn't fault their performance, they just didn't get that little bit of luck to get the result. "They need to get results, simple as that." Lampard feels under-fire coach Jose Mourinho should keep positive and receive the club’s full backing in getting them through the difficult start to the season. "He will get to work in the week, but there is only so much he can do in training and tactically," he said. "He has to be positive because there is so much being thrown at Chelsea, there are players out of form and low on confidence, you can see that. "They need everything to be behind them in a positive way and look forward." Chelsea lie 16th in the EPL standings, with just 11 points from 12 games.

Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is one of the greatest goalkeepers England has ever seen. The former Chelsea shot-stopper, who was Arsenal’s only major signing in the transfer window, has conceded just nine goals in 12 Premier League matches this season, helping the Gunners join Manchester City at the top of the EPL standings. Wenger feels it’s no surprises that Arsenal are at the summit of the standings following the Czech’s impressive displays. "I believe there is no coincidence – it is just class, consistency and quality," said the Frenchman. "And knowing him well after a few months I am not surprised. He analyses everything. "He is gifted, super-talented and he is one of the greatest goalkeepers ever seen in this country." The Arsenal manager feels his 33-year-old gloveman can stay in the game as long as decorated Dutch goal-minder Edwin van der Sar did. "He plays in a position where age is less of a restriction than in any other job - I think 37 or 38,” he said. "Some go longer but once you start to have a 'four' the intensity is more difficult. Van der Sar was close to 40 and still doing well."

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Jose Mourinho will not be leaving Chelsea anytime soon, according to the under-fire manager's agent. Mourinho's position has come under scrutiny at Stamford Bridge following the champions' horror start to the season. The Blues are 15th on the Premier League table, having lost six of their first 11 games. Mourinho's representative, Jorge Mendes, however insists his client is staying put. "He doesn't need to prove anything to anybody," he told BBC Sport. "He knows what to do. Many people are saying these things but there is no chance [he will leave]. He will solve the problem. He is the best." Mendes continued: "At FC Porto he won the Europa League, the league, the Champions League. He won everything. "After that, in Chelsea he was amazing. After 50 years he won the league and everyone was very happy with him. "At Inter Milan, nobody expected Inter could win the Champions League - no way. Even the quarter-finals seemed quite impossible. "At Real Madrid against the best team in the world he still won the league. He is special. "The reaction from the supporters tells you everything. They like him. "Everyone, players, coaches, you have good moments and bad moments. It is impossible to find someone like him to solve the problem."

Patrick Vieira will become the new head coach of New York City football club after signing a three-year deal with the MLS club. The 39-year-old, whose current role is head coach of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City, will take up his new job on January 1 in advance of pre-season for the team's second MLS campaign. Vieira will meet his playing squad and spend time with Sporting Director Claudio Reyna and goalkeeping coach Rob Vartughian. The former Arsenal and France midfielder said: "I am delighted to take up the role of New York City FC. To work with this squad, with Claudio Reyna and Rob Vartughian and the fantastic support team that is in place, is an exciting prospect for any coach. "This established football set-up, together with a passionate and loyal fan base, located in a special city which I know well, makes for an unparalleled opportunity that I am delighted to seize with both hands. I cannot wait to get started." 

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed his feelings for Sir Alex Ferguson and described how he persuaded him to move to Manchester United. The Real Madrid star is in London to promote the release of his new film 'Ronaldo' - a documentary filmed in 2014 tracking the 30-year-old on and off the pitch. Ronaldo admitted he was no actor, adding the movie was "great because it's myself". He also spoke passionately about his six-year spell at Old Trafford and his feelings for the man whose words encouraged him to make the move from Sporting Lisbon in 2003. "With Manchester United, I have a great passion," said the Portugal forward. "I say that every time. "It was like a dream. What [agent] Jorges Mendes did for me when I was 18 was to put me in one of the best clubs in the world with the words of Sir Alex Ferguson - it was a dream to play at Sporting and move to Manchester. "It was great because Jorges gave me his words and Sir Alex Ferguson gave me his words. I respect the people who tell me something and it happens. This guy will be my friend, my family, with me for the rest of my life. "It's people that I trust, that I like and people I love. When Sir Alex Ferguson said 'Cristiano - I want you to come to Manchester United, you will play 50 per cent of the games', is unbelievable - the last word was the key to signing for Manchester United." One subject Ronaldo refused to discuss was the corruption scandal surrounding FIFA and its suspended president Sepp Blatter who presented the player with his third Ballon d'Or in January. Ronaldo said: "To speak about the president, of course I won't speak about that because when Cristiano speaks about that it will create a huge thing. I won't be involved in these problems. "I have to say that the Golden Ball had a big influence in the movie because it's very important."

Mali’s dream of lifting a first ever Fifa U17 World Cup faded in thin air in Vina del Mar as they crumbled 2-0 to Nigeria at the Estadio Sausalito. Second half strikes from Victor Osimhen and Funsho Bamgboye were all the Eaglets needed to become world champions for a record fifth time, and the second country to successfully defend their title after Brazil. Nigeria threatened first, gaining a penalty as both sides were still finding their rhythm after a handball in the area. Osinachi Ebere stepped up but saw his effort saved by Samuel Diarra, before heading the rebound against the bar to let Mali off the hook. But the Super Eaglets would not be denied, and in the second half Osimhen swooped for his record-breaking 10th goal of the World Cup. Funsho Bamgboye then put the encounter beyond reach for Mali, as he surged down the wing and netted with a vicious shot to put Nigeria 2-0 up. Mali attempted to fight back but Nigeria were able to play out the final stages without further trouble, and Vina del Mar exploded with the side's joy as the final whistle sounded. 

Brazil defender Dante has revealed he would like to play for Chelsea. The Wolfsburg defender has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, with his successful three-year spell at Bayern Munich peppered with speculation over a move to England.  Whilst winning three Bundesliga titles and the Champions League during his time at the Allianz Arena, Dante found himself regularly linked with Manchester United. However, in a Q+A on Fifa's twitter account, he revealed a move to Stamford Bridge would be more appealing. "I always dreamed of playing in a World Cup for my country," the Brazil international replied when asked what his dream club would be. "I would like to play in a big club like Chelsea." Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will welcome Dante's admission having been desperate to sign a defender over the summer. The reigning champions tried to sign John Stones from Everton, but after being successively rebuffed, bought relative unknowns Papy Djilobodji and Michael Hector instead. An experienced centre-back, of Dante's ilk, is understood to remain a priority for Chelsea when the transfer window opens in January.