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Euro 2008 (news): Boulahrouz given EURO chance


Boulahrouz given EURO chance

Sevilla FC defender Khalid Boulahrouz has been drafted into the provisional Netherlands squad for UEFA EURO 2008™, with four other players failing to make the cut after Marco van Basten trimmed his party.

Unlucky quartet
AFC Ajax defender Urby Emanuelson, Kew Jaliens of AZ Alkmaar, Valencia CF's Hedwiges Maduro and PSV Eindhoven striker Danny Koevermans have all been sent home as Van Basten coordinates the team's final preparations, which kick off in Noordwijk on Tuesday. The quartet had originally been named as part of a 30-man squad, which was reduced to 29 this week following Clarence Seedorf's withdrawal.

Fitness concerns
The versatile former Chelsea FC defender Boulahrouz was not included in this provisional list but will team up with his colleagues on Tuesday. Once there, he will be required to prove his physical condition to Van Basten over the first five days of training, given that he has recently been declared fit again after months of injury trouble.

Rest periods
Meanwhile, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink will report for duty on 23 May due to club commitments with Real Madrid CF and Celtic FC. In a similar vein, Wesley Sneijder and Edwin van der Sar will not arrive until 26 May, on account of their heavy workloads with Madrid and Manchester United FC respectively.

Friendly schedule
The definitive list of 20 outfield players and three goalkeepers will be presented to UEFA before the deadline on 28 May. The Netherlands have lined up friendlies at home against Ukraine on 24 May, Denmark five days later and Wales on 1 June before beginning the their Group C campaign against Italy in Berne on 9 June.


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FA want Grant answers

Chelsea boss quizzed over Steve Bennett comments

The Football Association have written to Chelsea coach Avram Grant to ask him to explain his remarks about referee Steve Bennett.

Grant called Bennett's integrity into question after Manchester United's 2-0 win at Wigan last Sunday earned a tenth Premier League title for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Chelsea, level on points with United before kick-off, could only draw at home with Bolton.

But Bennett came under fire for not awarding Wigan a penalty for handball and then opting not to send off Paul Scholes for a second bookable offence when he fouled Wilson Palacios.

At his Champions League media conference on Wednesday Grant said: "I told you that I believed in the tradition of the fair English game. I will not say anything against it. But what happened is what I expected.

"In England there are very good referees, but there are some - a few that you can influence, like you saw.

"I think in our game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, the referee (Mike Dean) influenced the result for sure. We know that.

"I think the red card for Mikel John Obi in that game should not have been a red card, I think that Paul Scholes should have had a red card on Sunday and Wigan a penalty also. But it is finished. I congratulate Manchester United."


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Mancini leaves Inter - agent

Mancini leaves Inter - agent

Mourinho set for San Siro move with Italian linked to Chelsea

Roberto Mancini's agent has indicated his client is no longer the coach of Inter Milan.

Mancini, heavily linked with the Chelsea vacancy, looks to be on his way out at the San Siro less than a fortnight after delivering the club's third consecutive Serie A title.

The 43-year-old's agent, Giorgio De Giorgis, says Mancini left the club following a 25-minute meeting with president Massimo Moratti. The club has yet to make an announcement.

De Giorgis also claimed former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been lined up as Mancini's replacement.

He told Sportitalia television: "Roberto never expected it to end like this.


"As an outsider, I could rationally understand that something was not right, but that is the way things have gone.

"Roberto is very disappointed also because he has not yet finished his job - he wanted to try and win even more league titles, and maybe even the Champions League.

"Now Mourinho will arrive and he has only got to repeat what has happened in the last few years.

"Roberto is now considering making a statement to avoid gossip and it should be a statement praising the president and those who worked with him.

"Certainly he is shocked and has taken it badly.

"I have spoken with him and he sounded quite down, but tomorrow will be even worse."

Mancini has endured a turbulent season at the San Siro, tendering his resignation in the immediate aftermath of the club's UEFA Champions League elimination by Liverpool in March only to be talked into a rethink by Moratti.

"After the Liverpool game, there was tension and maybe Roberto could have avoided it, but the president knows him well and when he apologises, he does so because he realises he has done wrong," De Giorgis continued.

"Roberto has a great quality of being a good person so he has never given his availability to anybody else and has always done his job.


"These last three months have been very testing and the press have not been fair towards Inter.

"The club maybe let things get carried away, destabilising the atmosphere with all this gossip. But he always felt a lot for Inter and to try and lift him, I told him that maybe he will now be able to get back the 10 years he has lost while in Milan.

"He thought he would have a month of holiday now before returning to Inter and continuing to win. Maybe now it will be a bit longer, but I hope somebody calls him [with a job offer] as early as tomorrow because it is never good to be out of work as a coach."

Reports in Italy suggest Mourinho has arrived in Milan and may be presented as the club's new coach as early as Wednesday.

Mancini's departure would increase speculation linking him with the position at Stamford Bridge, vacated after Saturday's sacking of Avram Grant.


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Inter Milan informed Roberto Mancini that he had been relieved of his role as coach of the team, especially because of his comments that he was not going to stay after the end of the season following the Inter Milan v Liverpool Champions League match on March 11.
The exit of Mancini has cost Inter dear too as his contract, which runs till 2012, will leave him 24 million euros richer as compensation.

Inter are in talks with Laporta about Eto'o and Deco


As previously reported, soccer star David Beckham is being loaned out to Italian powerhouse AC Milan.

The move will see Beckham play for the Italian club in January before returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 33-year-old midfielder is said to have made the move in an effort to crack the English rosters for the 2010 World Cup. Becks believes that the his time in Italy will prove that he can still compete against the world's top players. Beckham had fallen out of favor with former England coach Steve McClaren and the move might be seen as a way to get in the good books with new coach Fabio Capello.

Some see the move as one more step towards Beckham giving up on playing in North America. Earlier this week, former LA Galaxy head coach Ruud Gullit suggested that Beckham's efforts to popularize soccer in North America may ultimately prove to be futile.


Maradona begins Argentina reign in Glasgow

Diego Maradona scored his first international goal in Scotland on 2 June 1979 against Scotland at Hampden Park and he will return to the Glasgow venue in a fortnight after being appointed Argentina coach.

Bilardo reunion
The 48-year-old was confirmed the position by the Argentina Football Association today, having captained his nation to victory at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and made his 91st and final appearance in the 1994 edition. The coach in Mexico '86, Carlos Bilardo, will assist Maradona, who takes over from Alfio Basile with Argentina third in the South American 2010 World Cup qualifying group after losing 1-0 in Chile last month.

Ready to go
Maradona, who helped SSC Napoli to victory in the 1989 UEFA Cup and also played for FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC during more than a decade in Europe, gained brief coaching experience in the mid-1990s with Mandiyú de Corrientes and Racing Club de Avellaneda. "We have to start working as quickly as possible," said Maradona ahead of the 19 November trip to Scotland. "We are going to play the game against Scotland with the best team we've got. I scored a goal there, on a tour with [César Luis] Menotti."

'Extra spice'
Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith is delighted to be welcoming Argentina and their new coach. "Argentina is a famous name in football and now with Maradona coming as coach there is extra spice to the fixture," he said. Scotland lie second in World Cup qualifying Group 9 with four points from three games and visit leaders the Netherlands on 28 March.


Manchester United FC and Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2008 Ballon d'Or, the coveted prize awarded by France Football for the European Player of the Year.

Ronaldo topped the poll of 96 journalists worldwide organised by the French magazine and becomes the third Portuguese player to win the award following Eusébio in 1965 and Luís Figo in 2000. "I dreamt of this when I was younger," the former Sporting Clube de Portugal player said at Sunday's ceremony in Paris. "It's a great day for me and my family. The Ballon d'or has been won by two great Portuguese players and for me to be part of that history is a great feeling. It's incredible considering I only started my career a few years ago. I must thank all the people who voted for me and especially my team-mates who passed the ball to me to allow me to be the best."

Dazzling year
The 23-year-old, who succeeds AC Milan's Brazilian playmaker Kaká, enjoyed another outstanding season for United in 2007/08, propelling Sir Alex Ferguson's side to the UEFA Champions League and Premier League titles. Ronaldo's 31 Premier League goals earned him the European Golden Shoe, contributing to a total of 42 as he also finished top scorer in the UEFA Champions with seven, including one in the final against Chelsea FC.

Portugal disappointment
Success at club level, however, was tinged with disappointment on the international stage as his much-fancied Portugal side failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2008™. An ankle injury and constant speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid CF compounded a difficult summer, but Ronaldo soon recovered his scoring form on his return to the United side in September and has already claimed ten goals in eleven league apppearances this season. Ronaldo becomes the fourth United player to pick up the award, following in the illustrious footsteps of George Best (1968), Sir Bobby Charlton (1966) and Denis Law (1964).

Top marks
Ronaldo finished first in the voting on 446 points, ahead of FC Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi (281 points) and Liverpool FC and Spain forward Fernando Torres (179). Iker Casillas (133) and Xavi Hernández (97), two other members of Spain's UEFA EURO 2008™ winning squad, completed the top five. Ronaldo was also voted FIFPro World Player of the Year for the 2007/08 season in October and UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in August. As the Portuguese newspaper Record points out, "only the FIFA World Player of the Year award is missing from a clean sweep". Ronaldo will have to wait until 12 January to learn if he has won that too.

Past ten Ballon d'Or winners
2007 Kaká
2006 Fabio Cannavaro
2005 Ronaldinho
2004 Andrei Shevchenko
2003 Pavel Nedvěd
2002 Ronaldo
2001 Michael Owen
2000 Luís Figo
1999 Rivaldo
1998 Zinédine Zidane


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Gazzetta dello Sport Naz.le

data 10 September o9



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THE GUARDIAN: Amir Khan will leave Washington tomorrow an angry young man, without his world title belts but at least buoyed by assurances that his next fight will be a rematch with the new local hero, Lamont Peterson. Also...Bernie Ecclestone has described Lewis Hamilton's decision to put his affairs in the hands of a management company dealing primarily in showbusiness figures as "a disaster".

DAILY TELEGRAPH: So much stayed the same for Sunderland during Martin O'Neill's first game in charge, but so much had changed by the end of it thanks to two late goals and a crucial win over Blackburn Rovers. Also...At full time, Harry Redknapp stormed down the tunnel with a burning red glow to his cheeks that was only partly a result of standing in the face of a stiff Staffordshire breeze.

DAILY STAR: Mario Balotelli faces an eye-watering £150,000 fine for breaking a club curfew to go for a midnight curry. Also...Amir Khan's furious team have hit out at the scoring of his shock world title defeat to Lamont Peterson.

THE SUN: Martin O'Neill jumped for joy after getting his Sunderland reign off to a flier and purred: It was like a dream. Also...Jose Mourinho wants to offer Chelsea a sensational swap deal that would rescue Frank Lampard from his Stamford Bridge nightmare.

DAILY EXPRESS: Angry Amir Khan is likely to get the chance to avenge his scandalous points defeat by Lamont Peterson within four months while his legal team begin an immediate battle for an inquiry into the decision here. Also...Andre Villas-Boas sent Chelsea into lockdown ahead of tonight's game against Manchester City in a move that split the club in two.

DAILY MAIL: Harry Redknapp aimed a furious blast at referee Chris Foy after his side were denied a penalty and had a goal wrongly ruled out at Stoke. Also...Relieved Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill praised his under-fire players for pulling off a stunning late 2-1 victory in his debut game at the Stadium of Light.

DAILY MIRROR: Martin O'Neill last night described Sunderland's dramatic injury-time winner as his "wildest dream". Also...Amir Khan has called for a probe into his controversial loss to Lamont Peterson, with his team claiming he was swindled.

THE TIMES: Harry Redknapp lambasted the officials at the Britannia Stadium last night after Tottenham Hotspur's six-match winning run in the Barclays Premier League came to a controversial end in a 2-1 defeat by Stoke City. Also...Luke Donald did all that was asked of him at the Dubai World Championship yesterday and in the process became the first player in history to win the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year.

THE INDEPENDENT: Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli faces another inquisition from his manager Roberto Mancini after he was seen socialising until the early hours of Sunday morning, in breach of a club curfew. Also...He was welcomed onto the pitch with a resounding roar of approval, he left at half-time to a smattering of boos and when finally Martin O'Neill took his leave the home support were so drained of emotion they barely noticed him go.