Author: AFP

Brazilian far-right party deny Ronaldinho will be candidate

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – A far-right Brazilian party on Friday denied reports that World Cup-winning footballer Ronaldinho is to be one of its candidates in elections for the Senate. “There is no agreement between the party and Ronaldinho for him to launch a bid for a Senate seat,” the party, Patriota, said. Patriota is led by Jair Bolsonaro, a firebrand former army officer dubbed the “Brazilian Donald Trump” who is riding high in opinion polls ahead of next year’s presidential elections. O Globo’s website reported Thursday that former Barcelona and Paris Saint-German star Ronaldinho was to run for a ... Read more

Monaco hit four to stay in PSG chase

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Paris (AFP) – Reigning French champions Monaco eased past struggling Saint-Etienne 4-0 on Friday to stay on PSG’s tail with the highly coveted Fabinho and Thomas Lemar among the scorers. Djibril Sidibe curled in the opener after Keita Balde shot was blocked and Thomas Lemar — the target of a bid by Arsenal in the summer — scored on 32 minutes after weaving through the St Etienne defence. Fabinho, who told the club this week he wants to leave, tapped in the third in the second half before Keita put the icing on the cake with a piercing shot on ... Read more

Mourinho ready to cut fringe United players

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho will allow any unhappy fringe player to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window, which will spark speculation over the futures of the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mourinho adopted the same policy in the last winter transfer window when he agreed to requests from Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay to leave the club to pursue regular first-team football elsewhere. Now Mkhitaryan and teammates including former England full-back Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian, who have been out of the first-team squad for long periods this season, would be allowed to leave should they ... Read more

Neves stunner edges Wolves past gutsy Wednesday

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London (AFP) – A wonderful strike by Portuguese star Ruben Neves was sufficient to see Wolverhampton Wanderers beat an unlucky Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Friday and extend their lead at the top of the Championship. The 20-year-old — the most expensive player in the second tier with Wolves paying nigh on £16 million ($21.3 million) in the close season — struck in the first half of a match that saw their opponents reduced to 10 men in the final five minutes with Morgan Fox sent off for a second bookable offence. Wolves’ victory — the first time they have won ... Read more

Guardiola backs flying Manchester City to keep improving

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Friday warned the rest of the Premier League that his runaway leaders still have room to get even better. City set a new English top-flight record on Wednesday with a 16th successive win as they beat Swansea City 4-0 at the Liberty Stadium. They host fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, and will extend their lead to 14 points with a win, as second-placed Manchester United do not play until Sunday, when they visit West Bromwich Albion. Guardiola’s side have won countless plaudits both for their ... Read more

FIFA threatens to boot Spain out of World Cup

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Madrid (AFP) – The governing body of world football (FIFA) confirmed on Friday that it has written to the Spanish federation (RFEF) warning they could be suspended form the 2018 World Cup because of political interference. Earlier in the day Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain had received “no such letter from FIFA.” The issue centres on the RFEF presidency. Angel Maria Villar, who was also a senior FIFA and UEFA official, resigned after being arrested in July on suspicion of embezzling funds. Villar was replaced, on an interim basis, by Juan Luis Larrea, another long-time football administrator. Even though ... Read more

I let the Crystal Palace team down, says Benteke

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London (AFP) – Christian Benteke admitted he let his Crystal Palace team-mates down by missing a penalty he should not by rights have taken in the 2-2 draw with fellow Premier League strugglers Bournemouth last Saturday. The 27-year-old Belgian international — who is yet to score in 12 appearances this season — should have let Luka Milivojevic take the penalty late in the game as he had already scored from the spot earlier in the game. However, to the consternation of his team-mates and manager Roy Hodgson he took the ball and missed, costing Palace what could be two invaluable ... Read more

Walker needs brains not just brawn, says Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Kyle Walker has been told by Pep Guardiola he is physically one of the best full-backs in the world, but needs to improve his football brain to maintain his form into his thirties. The 27-year-old Manchester City full-back has enjoyed an excellent season since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in July for a fee that could rise to £52million ($69million) with performance-related bonus clauses. Walker has played a key role as City have streaked clear of the of the Premier League field, dropping just two points in their opening 17 matches. “Right now I’d rate him ... Read more