International News - Issue 305




Antonio Conte Announced As New Chelsea Coach For Next Season

Chelsea have confirmed Antonio Conte will become their new head coach following the conclusion of the 2016 European Championship. Current Italy coach Conte signed a three-year deal with the reigning Premier League champions on Monday and becomes the 10th boss to take charge of Chelsea since Roman Abramovich completed his takeover of the club in 2004. The 46-year-old will officially take control after leading Italy at Euro 2016 in France in the summer. "I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that," he told Chelsea's official website. "I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League. “Chelsea and English football are watched wherever you go, the fans are passionate and my ambition is to have more success to follow the victories I enjoyed in Italy. "I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros."

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery says he is not sure what his future holds, with contract talks with his current German club yet to begin. The French speedster, who has been with the Bavarian giants since 2007, has had an injury-plagued season to forget, with just three Bundesliga starts and only 11 appearances for his club in all competitions, mostly from the substitute’s bench. Bayern have handed contract extensions to star players including Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller, David Alaba, Javi Martinez and Xabi Alonso in recent months, yet Ribery is still in the dark regarding his future, with his contract at the Allianz Arena up next year. "I have not heard anything yet about my contract," Ribery told Bild. "We have yet to hold talks, but everyone knows what I am capable of. I want to keep playing as long as possible."

Claudio Ranieri says Leicester City are dreaming of winning a maiden Premier League title, but stressed the need for his men to remain calm and professional. "We are dreaming, if we fight we can do something and we must continue. It's important to stay very calm and maintain our feet on the ground," Ranieri told Sky Sports. "Everyone is expecting something more for us and we are in the clouds, but we have to keep concentrating. "We want to stay there and continue. If the others are better than us then congratulations. We know it will be hard - in the next match Sunderland will be fighting to survive. "I don't want to think about [being] champions, I want to focus on the match. There is a chance for us to be champions this season, but we have to be professional."

Yaya Toure will leave Manchester City this summer, according to his agent, and has "various offers" on the table. Dimitri Seluk claims the midfielder will assess his options at the end of the season as he ponders his future with just one year remaining on his contract at the Etihad. The 32-year-old Ivory Coast international joined City from Barcelona for £24m in July 2010 - where he was sold by incoming City manager Pep Guardiola - but now looks set for a fresh chapter in his career. "We have waited too long," Seluk said. "Manchester City promised a deal but nothing has materialised so Yaya will leave in June. “Yaya is disappointed of course. But he is a professional and he remains under contract so he will continue to do his best for City." One option for Toure is Inter Milan, who are coached by former City boss Roberto Mancini, and Seluk said in an interview with FC Inter News that wages will not be the deciding factor in where he moves. "Various offers have arrived for Yaya and we're evaluating them, but no decision has been taken yet for next season," Seluk said. "Will the economic aspect make the difference? Absolutely not. We don't put money before everything, but the project the club presents us. The best will convince us. "Inter? We're definitely talking about a great club and everyone knows about the relationship between Yaya and Mancini, but like I've already said, we haven't made any decision yet. "But I'll add that the Nerazzurri's project is great and Inter is a fantastic club. So it's normal that they want a player of this level."

West Ham will not make the loan signings of Alex Song, Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike permanent in the summer, according to reports. The trio are currently on-loan to West Ham until the end of the campaign from Barcelona, Chelsea and Al Ain respectively. West Ham have the option to make all the deals permanent, but reports say the Hammers have decided not to do so. Song joined West Ham on a season-long loan from Barcelona in August 2014 and enjoyed a hugely impressive first four months at the club, playing a leading role under then-manager Sam Allardyce. However, West Ham did not take up the option to make Song's move to the club permanent at the end of last season after midfielder sustained an ankle injury. Song did re-join West Ham in August, on a second season-long loan, but remained on the sidelines for a further three months because of that injury before making his long-awaited return as a late substitute in the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham. The 28-year-old has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular under Slaven Bilic this season and has started just eight Premier League matches. Song has also been an unused substitute in West Ham's previous three games. Moses completed a season-long loan move to West Ham on the same day as Song and enjoyed a productive start to life at the Boleyn Ground, starting 11 matches and scoring in the 2-1 victory over Manchester City. A hamstring injury in the goalless draw with Manchester United in December saw Moses miss six weeks of the season and he has not started in the Premier League since. Emenike joined West Ham on a six-month loan deal in January after the east London club decided to sell Nikica Jelavic to Chinese second division side Guizhou Renhe. The 29-year-old forward has scored two goals in nine appearances - both goals coming in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round victory over Blackburn Rovers - and started last weekend's 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace.

Gary Neville has been sacked as Valencia first-team coach after less than four months in charge. The former Manchester United and England right-back has been shown the door by the Spanish club after guiding the team to only three wins from 16 La Liga games. The 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo on March 20 was Valencia's third successive loss and left them in 14th place in the table, just six points above the relegation zone. A statement from the La Liga club read: "After careful consideration, the club have decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season. We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future." Neville, 41, also issued a statement on the club's website following his departure, which read: "I want to thank Valencia, the fans, the coaching staff and players. "I would have liked to continue the work I started, but I understand that we are in business based on results and in 28 games we have seen 10 wins, seven draws and 11 defeats, which is not the level demanded by me or by this club." Pako Ayestaran, who was assistant coach of Valencia from 2001 to 2004 under Rafa Benitez and was already at Valencia when Neville arrived, has been appointed as head coach of the club until the end of the season.

Neymar's agent believes Paris Saint-Germain could meet the Barcelona star's 193m euros buy-out clause and says "it's the dream of every player to play for a club like PSG". Neymar is under contract until 2018 and Barcelona are keen to extend his stay, but speculation in the French press has linked him with a departure this summer. In January, Neymar claimed he would be open to playing under Pep Guardiola, who will to take over at Manchester City this summer, while Brazil team-mate and PSG winger Lucas Moura said he'd prefer his club signed Neymar over Lionel Messi. And Neymar's agent Wagner Ribeiro has made it clear the prospect of playing for the Ligue 1 champions could appeal to his player. "Neymar has a contract with Barcelona until 2018 and he is feeling very good at Barcelona," Ribeiro told L'Equipe. "He is a beloved player there and is part of the best team in the world. It is not easy to impose yourself at such a huge club, but the prospect of living in a city like Paris and playing for a club like PSG is a dream for every player too. "We will see what happens in two years' time when his contract expires. If PSG showed an interest in signing Neymar, we can always discuss it. "A contract can be resolved if the buy-out clause is met. Neymar's buy-out clause is huge, it's 193m euros, but I don't think that would be an insurmountable problem for PSG."

Leicester and England forward Jamie Vardy has hit out at "shocking and vile" Twitter trolls who made sexual threats against his one-year-old daughter. The graphic abuse came after the Leicester striker's fiancee posted pictures of the toddler wearing a Foxes shirt ahead of their match against Southampton last Sunday. Rebekah Nicholson tweeted the shots of her daughter wearing the blue T-shirt with 'Daddy' emblazoned on the back, which prompted graphic threats on the social networking site. She responded to one: "There are no words for people like you! You need locking up." Vardy posted a screenshot of the threats, with the words "shocking and vile". Police are in contact with Vardy's club Leicester over the abuse. A spokeswoman for Leicestershire Police said: "We are aware of the tweets and are liaising with the club. No formal complaint has yet been made." She added that if a complaint is made, the force will launch an investigation. Leicester City Football Club called the abuse "shocking". A spokesman said: "We have offered our full support to Jamie and his family in dealing with this shocking abuse and referred the matter to the police."

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini is back on the treatment table after making a brief return from injury. The 31-year-old missed the whole of March, including a Champions League game at Bayern Munich, due to calf trouble, but was fit enough to start for Juventus in their 1-0 Serie A victory over Empoli last weekend. He lasted only 53 minutes before being withdrawn for Juan Cuadrado, though, and subsequent tests have revealed a thigh injury that will rule him out of action for "around 20 days". A statement published on juventus.com on Monday afternoon said Chiellini had damaged the adductor muscle in his right leg. Despite enduring a stop-start season Chiellini has made over 20 league appearances for the reigning champions, who are six points clear of Napoli with seven games remaining. He can expect to miss games against AC Milan, Palermo and Lazio, with a trip to Fiorentina on April 24 likely coming too soon for the Italy international.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes the club has a good chance of claiming Premier League honours if they win their remaining seven games. The Gunners, who walloped Watford 4-0 on the weekend, trail log leaders Leicester City by 11 points, but have a match in hand. The Foxes enjoy a seven-point lead at the summit, and can clinch their maiden topflight title with four more victories. "It's not totally over yet," Mertesaker told German website sport1.de. "If we win all of our matches, then we've got a good chance. "We've got to keep focusing on that and that's why we're taking things game by game. "We're trying to concentrate fully on our next game against West Ham. We have a bit more time now that we're not in any other competition so we don't have to concentrate on anything else, other than the title."

Alex Iwobi has agreed a new five-year deal with Arsenal worth £30,000 a week, according to reports. The 19-year-old only signed a contract until 2019 in October, but it is reported that he has been rewarded for his recent form with a bumper new deal. The academy product has started four of the last five games and scored against Everton and Watford.