Author: AFP

‘Africa real’ World Cup winners, says Venezuela’s Maduro

Caracas (AFP) – Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro believes Africa and not France are the true winners of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. France beat Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s final in Moscow, but with a team featuring number players of African heritage. “The French team seems like the African team, in reality Africa won, the African immigrants who arrived in France,” Maduro said at an event to celebrate police day in Venezuela on Monday. “How much have they despised Africa, and in the football World Cup France won the trophy thanks to African players or the sons of Africans.” Two ... Read more

Peru’s Guerrero cleared to play for Brazilian club – Swiss court

Geneva (AFP) – Peruvian football star Paolo Guerrero can play for his Brazilian club Flamengo when it resumes competition this week, despite his suspension for cocaine use, Switzerland’s top court said Tuesday.  In late May, the Swiss Federal Tribunal put a provisional stay on a suspension given to Guerrero by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, allowing him to play for Peru at the World Cup.  It had not been immediately clear if that stay applied only to the World Cup, raising concern among Flamengo fans that the club might have to get by without their star.   But ... Read more

Hammers boss Pellegrini backs Anderson to add ‘new dimension’

London (AFP) – West Ham United manger Manuel Pellegrini believes the London club’s record signing, Felipe Anderson, will give his team a “new dimension”. The 25-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder signed for a reported £33.5 million ($44 million, 38 million euros), potentially rising to £42 million, from Italian club Lazio on Sunday.  “We feel he will bring a new dimension to the squad but also complement the attacking players we already have,” Pellegrini said. Anderson was the Hammers’ seventh pre-season signing and former Manchester City manager Pellegrini, who took charge of the east London club after they decided against renewing David ... Read more

Arsenal sponsorship deal ‘hit by Chinese fraud’

Shanghai (AFP) – English Premier League club Arsenal has launched an investigation after it was caught up in an alleged fraud involving its sponsorship deal with Chinese carmaker BYD. Arsenal said the deal, which was launched with great fanfare in May, was among those affected after BYD revealed what it described as a plot to defraud advertising agencies. BYD said last week that a woman posing as the marketing manager of its Shanghai branch signed multiple contracts with advertising agencies to promote the company. One of the affected ad firms, Shanghai Jingzhi, has said BYD had been forced to refuse ... Read more

Not tall, not fast, but Cahill became a legend anyway

Sydney (AFP) – Once dismissed as too small to be a professional, Australia’s Tim Cahill, who retired from international football Tuesday, became a giant of the game and his nation’s most prolific goalscorer. Cahill hung up his boots after scoring a record 50 goals in 107 appearances since his debut in 2004, weeks after he played in his fourth World Cup in a cameo appearance against Peru in Russia. It leaves Australia, who were winless in Russia, with much rebuilding to do under new coach Graham Arnold as they head towards their Asian Cup title defence in January. “No words ... Read more

Record scorer Cahill retires from Australia duty

Sydney (AFP) – Australia’s all-time leading goal-scorer Tim Cahill retired from international football Tuesday, ending an illustrious career that has taken him to four World Cups. The 38-year-old, who scored 50 international goals in 107 appearances, last played for the Socceroos when he came off the bench for their final group game against Peru at the World Cup in Russia. “Today’s the day that I’m officially hanging up my boots on my international career with the Socceroos,” Cahill tweeted. “No words can describe what it has meant to represent my country. Massive thank you to everyone for the support throughout ... Read more

Bolt poised for surprise trial with Aussie football club

Sydney (AFP) – Usain Bolt is on the verge of sealing a deal to trial with the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners, the Australian club said Tuesday, as the sprint legend pursues his dream of playing professional football. Eight-time Olympic champion Bolt, 31, who retired from athletics after August’s World Championships in London, is an avid Manchester United fan who has long dreamt of playing top-flight football. The 100m and 200m world record-holder trained with Norwegian club Stromsgodset last month and Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in March. The planned arrangement will see him take part in a six-week trial starting next ... Read more

Croatians hail returning World Cup squad

Zagreb (AFP) – Hundreds of thousands of Croatians took to the streets in Zagreb on Monday to greet their players as they returned home from Russia after losing the World Cup final. A crowd estimated by police at more than 550,000 people cheered the team during its parade on an open-top bus from the airport to the capital’s main square. It took five hours for the bus to get to Jelacic square as it was moving slowly through euphoric fans many waving flags, wearing the famous Croatia red and white shirt and singing popular songs. Since the former Yugoslav republic’s ... Read more