Karim Haggui to go in for groin surgery

Bayer 04 Leverkusen defender Karim Haggui will be going to hospital early next week to undergo an operation to sort out a continual groin injury.

The twenty four year old Tunisian defender made it clear that he would only be going to hospital for the operation after Friday night’s vital Bundesliga match at home to VfL Wolfsburg at the Bay Arena.

He is expected to be out for a number of weeks as they surgeons will be operating on both groins.

Currently Bayer 04 Leverkusen are in second place in the Bundesliga, one point adrift of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim while VfL Wolfsburg are in eighth place, a further five points adrift.

Fri 31 October, 2008
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Real Madrid lose in Copa Del Rey

Real Madrid have lost their first leg match in the fourth round of the Copa Del Rey, 3-2 to third division side Real Union.

Juan Dominguez was the home side’s hero with two goals in the first half, and Goikoetxea got the winning goal three minutes after the hour mark.

Real Madrid played a large part of the match with a heavily dented concentration level after the collapse of Ruben de la Red.

The midfielder collapsed after about twelve minutes and needed several minutes to regain consciousness. The latest reports fortunately indicate that it was ‘only’ low blood pressure that caused the incident.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Eric Abical out for two games

FC Barcelona defender Eric Abidal will miss the side’s next two matches due to a meniscal cyst in his right knee.

The Frenchman noted the issue in training and tests pointed out that a cyst had formed. If conventional treatment hasn’t improved the situation by next week, other measures could be required.

In that case, the player might undergo an artriscopia, a visual examination of the joint.

As a result, Abidal misses Saturday’s Liga clash with Malaga and Tuesday’s Champions League game with Basel.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Ballack meets Loew, decision set for Friday

Chelsea star Michael Ballack flew from London to Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday to apologise directly to Joachim Loew for comments he made last week criticising the national coach.

Germany captain Ballack criticised Loew last Tuesday in a newspaper interview here saying the coach should show his senior players more loyalty and respect after veteran midfielder Torsten Frings was dropped.

Ballack, 32, apologised last weekend in a press release, but Loew insisted the Chelsea midfielder fly to the German Football Federation (DFB) offices in Frankfurt to meet face-to-face on Thursday and explain his comments.

Ballack returned to London immediately after the meeting and the DFB are expected to make an announcement on Friday to reveal whether Ballack will keep his role as captain of die Mannschaft or even his place in the team.

Munich newspaper Abendzeitung claimed on Thursday that Ballack is set to resign as Germany captain, but remain in the team with Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm taking over as captain.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Beckham Loaned to Milan for 09

LOS ANGELES (Oct 30)

The LA Galaxy and AC Milan announced an agreement late today which, among other things, will send England star David Beckham to the Italian club beginning January of next year.

In accordance with the new agreement Beckham will continue to practice and play with the MLS club for the 2009 season (not concurrent with European season).

Beckham has been a member of the Galaxy of MLS since January of 2007, and competed for the club in the past two seasons.

Despite setting records in the league for transfer fee and compensation, Beckham’s two seasons with the Galaxy have produced just 5 goals and 10 assists. The Galaxy have also failed to make the league playoffs in both years.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Ruben De La Red collapses during play

A serious scare for Real Madrid player Ruben De La Red during the side’s Copa del Rey match with Real Unión tonight, as the midfielder suddenly collapsed on the pitch.

De La Red, who also represented Spain at the European Championships this year, collapsed after twelve minutes with no one else nearby.

The player received treatment while unconscious, and was soon stretchered off the pitch. The website of sports paper Marca reports that fortunately, it was only a low blood pressure that caused the collapse. According to the most recent reports, the player regained consciousness.

The incident reminded many of a similar situation last year, in which Sevilla player Antonio Puerte collapsed on the pitch and died shortly after. As it looks now, the situation is considerably less serious in this case.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Lato elected head of Poland´s troubled federation

Ex-Poland international Grzegorz Lato was elected head of Poland's corruption-ridden PZPN football federation Thursday in a bid to clean it up as Poland gears up to co-host Euro 2012 with Ukraine.

The election comes after wrangling between European football's governing body UEFA together with world ruling body FIFA and the Polish government.

Early this month, Poland's Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki gave authorisation for a Polish Olympic Committee arbitration tribunal to install an administrator to head the PZPN.

UEFA and FIFA rules stipulate government interfere is unacceptable and Poland faced being excluded from playing two World Cup qualifiers early this month, with a possible reconsideration of whether Poland should jointly host the Euro 2012 championships.

Lato said within minutes of being elected: “We are determined to change the image of Polish football. I am determined to change the image of Polish football, to make it transparent and pure and for this to culminate in the success of Euro 2012.”

The 58-year-old Lato, who has vowed to end corruption, won an absolute majority of 57 out of 112 votes in an election watched closely by FIFA and UEFA, as well as the Polish government and fans.

Lato trumped fellow former Poland international Zbigniew Boniek and out-going PZPN Secretary General Zbigniew Krecina, facing charges of financial mismanagement.

One of Poland's most legendary footballers of the 70's and 80's, Lato was top scorer at the 1974 World Cup with seven goals. Having scored an impressive 42 goals in his 104 international matches, he is the second best striker in Polish history after Wlodzimierz Lubanski.

He is also known in Belgium where he played for KSC Lokeren.

After retiring, Lato coached in Canada for the Toronto North York Rockets and later for a several Polish clubs before launching a political career as a senator for the ex-communist SLD party from 2000/05.

“We must put an end to corruption in Polish football for once and for all,” Lato told PZPN delegates prior to the vote.

A long string of corruption scandals have discredited the federation has among fans. Close to 160 people — including referees, players, club officials and PZPN members — have now been snared in a vast football corruption probe.

Repeated match-fixing scandals have plagued all levels of the league for years. Polish tax authorities also seized 2.3 million euros in unpaid taxes from PZPN coffers this week.

A fresh round of legal action against senior PZPN officials came last week, with charges pressed against Poland's former national team manager Janusz Wojcik and Krecina.

Poland backed down and agreed to pull the administrator from the PZPN and for Thursday elections to flesh out a new leadership.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Maradona to make managerial debut against Scotland

Argentina coach Diego Maradona will make his managerial debut in a friendly against Scotland in Glasgow on November 19, the Argentinian football federation said on Thursday.

Maradona was confirmed as the new coach on Monday to replace Alfio Basile, who resigned after a World Cup qualifying defeat to Chile left them trailing group leaders Paraguay.

The Glasgow event is a fitting one for the former Barcelona and Napoli star, who celebrates his 48th birthday on Thursday.

It was here almost three decades ago that he scored his first international goal on a balmy June night in 1979, as the South Americans cruised to a 3-1 friendly win.

Maradona has no top level coaching experience, but is thought to have convinced selectors with his pledge to return the national team to the heady highs of when he was its captain.

The dark-haired maestro on Thursday said he would be travelling to England on Saturday to watch the Argentinian stars who play in the Premier League.

Maradona told a press conference that he was “going to the country against whom I scored two goals (a 2-1 victory in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final) and also to Scotland.

“I am travelling to England on Saturday to watch (Carlos) Tevez and (Javier) Mascherano play. And in Scotland I am going to make my coaching debut.”

A glittering career at national level brought Maradona a World Cup winners medal in Mexico in 1986 – the same tournament as the infamous 'Hand of God' incident against England in the quarter-finals.

He was also part of the team that came runners-up four years later in Italy after a shameful 1-0 defeat against West Germany which saw two of their players sent-off.

His appointment has met with mixed response. Lionel Messi, whom Maradona openly criticised earlier this year, said he was looking forward to establishing a problem-free relationship with the legend.

Brazilian giant Pele wished Maradona well, but highlighted his past health problems – and more significantly his checkered past with drugs, which lead to two footballing bans.

“I hope that everything goes well for him and that he'll be able to overcome what's happened in the past and that he'll know how to manage the Argentine players well,” said Pele.

Maradona's next match in charge will be a friendly against France in Marseille on February 11.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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Dawson escapes with FA warning

Tottenham Hotspur defender Michael Dawson was warned by the Football Association (FA) as to his future conduct here Thursday following the way he reacted to his sending-off at Stoke earlier this month.

The decision means Dawson, a 24-year-old centre-half, will not receive any further ban in addition to the three games he was forced to miss after seeing red for a dangerous challenge on Mamady Sidibe during the defeat against Stoke on October 19.

After being ordered off by referee Lee Mason in stoppage time, Dawson reacted with a barrage of angry words in the direction of the official and Stoke players. His protest could have seen him banned for two more games.

Tottenham, who sacked former manager Juande Ramos last weekend, are still bottom of the Premier League despite collecting four points from two matches under new boss Harry Redknapp, including one from Wednesday's spectacular 4-4 draw away to north London rivals Arsenal.

Thu 30 October, 2008
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New injury blow for Chelsea

Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho, who has only just returned from a knee ligament injury, is likely to miss at least another three weeks after suffering a thigh problem in the vicory over Hull.

Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said he may be without the thirty year old central defender until late November, ruling him out of about five games.

Deco, Essien, Carvalho, Terry, A.Cole, J.Cole, Ballack, Drogba and Cech have all been ruled out through injury this season and some Chelsea fans may be wondering if this is simply bad luck or if there is some other reason.

It seems to be happening too often. Could it be the pitch that they train on? Could it be training methods? Is it just a run of bad luck?

(Source – BBC)

Thu 30 October, 2008
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