Parma announce signing of veteran Panucci

Parma have signed former Italy international defender Christian Panucci from Serie A rivals AS Roma, the club announced on their website on Friday.

The 36-year-old Panucci formerly played for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea among other clubs.

However, he fell out with Roma coach Luciano Spalletti midway through last season and was freezed out of the first team picture until making a humbling public apology.

Panucci was unhappy at losing his place in the starting line up last season with Philppe Mexes and Juan preferred at centre-back and Marco Motta given the right-back berth.

He played 57 times for his country and has made more than 600 appearances for clubs in four different countries.

Parma were promoted back to Serie A at the first attempt last season after finishing second in Serie B.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Bent´s Twitter blast reveals Spurs rift

England striker Darren Bent found himself in hot water after apparently using internet networking site Twitter to blast Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy for failing to rubber-stamp his proposed move to Sunderland.

Bent, 25, went online to hit out at Levy as his move to Sunderland drags on.

A Twitter account in Bent’s name on Thursday carried a series of scathing attacks on Levy, who is said to be playing hardball with the Black Cats over the fee for player.

“Seriously getting p***ed off now,” read the first message.

Bent then went on to add: “Why can’t anything be simple?

“Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest.

“Do I wanna go Hull City? NO. Do I wanna go Stoke? NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland YES.”

It is thought Levy is attempting to recoup the 16.5 million pounds that Tottenham paid to sign Bent from Charlton two years ago, while Sunderland were hoping to pay 14 million pounds.

The move had seemed to be imminent when Bent was pulled off Tottenham’s trip to China just before the club’s plane took off on Monday, but little progress has been made since.

On Friday, the account in Bent’s name was removed from Twitter. Anyone logging in to the account, db10thetruth, found a message saying ‘This page does not exist’.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Finnan seals Portsmouth switch

Portsmouth signed Steve Finnan on a free transfer on Friday after the former Liverpool defender terminated his contract with Espanyol.

Republic of Ireland right-back Finnan struggled to settle in Spain and has been keen to return to the Premier League for some time.

Pompey want Finnan to fill the void created by England defender Glen Johnson’s move to Liverpool.

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart told the club’s official website: “It whetted my appetite to think that we could get a player of Steve’s calibre here.”

“He’s really looking forward to coming here and we’re looking forward to seeing him play.”

Portsmouth also confirmed that South Africa midfielder Aaron Mokoena has now officially moved to Fratton Park after agreeing a free transfer from Blackburn several weeks ago.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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FFA crack down on A-League ´divers´

Footballers in Australia found guilty of diving face a two-match ban under new disciplinary measures announced by Football Federation Australia on Friday.

The FFA said simulation was unacceptable and it would act to stamp out the practice, used to win penalties and get opposing players sent off.

FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said an independent match review panel would be put in place for the 2009/10 season, kicking off next week.

“I think everyone — fans, players and media — believe that simulation is unacceptable, and I am sure this change will be appreciated by the whole football community,” Buckley said.

“It is important to us that the A-League’s disciplinary provisions are not only consistent with those of the sport internationally, but also with community expectations within Australia.”

Under the new rules, which are backed by the Australian Professional Footballers’ Association and A-League coaches, divers undetected in matches can be banned through video evidence and face a two-match sanction if found guilty.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar welcomed the changes, believing they would help stamp out the few divers in the local competition.

“It’s obviously going to help clean up the divers and it’s a pretty harsh penalty as well,” Vidmar said.

“It will be interesting to see who is the first that gets caught.”

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna was also a supporter, particularly after the Mariners had been subjected to apparent simulation from Chinese side Tianjin Teda in their AFC Champions League match in Gosford last month.

“I know the reaction of the home crowd that night was scathing of the Chinese, it was just farcical because we’re not used to it,” McKinna said.

“We’re trying to get supporters to games and if people see that it turns the Aussie audiences off.”

The A-League season kicks off with champions Melbourne Victory facing the Mariners in Melbourne on August 6.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Elano leaving the Premier League is a shame

One of the biggest disappointments for me over recent years in the English Premier League is that we never got to see enough of the Brazilian midfielder Elano.

Yesterday Galatasaray completed the signing of Elano from Manchester City to bring an end to the player‘s two years in England. He has signed a four-year contract with the Turkish side and will officially join the club today.

Impressed

The twenty-eight year old impressed in his first season at the City of Manchester Stadium but didn’t seem to be part of Mark Hughes’ plans last season or this coming season.

Hughes told the BBC,

“It’s a big year for Ela, a World Cup year and the guarantee that he would play week in week out wasn’t there for him. I think that was key to his decision to leave. He’s moved on and it’s a good deal for the club and a good deal for him as well by all accounts. We wish him well.”

Elano played thirty-four league games for City in his first season but only twenty-eight last time around. Whilst he has managed to establish himself in the Brazil national squad for who he has played thirty-four times, he has gradually fallen out of favour at City and was deemed surplus to requirements at the club after Hughes, backed by City’s multi-billionaire owners, embarked on a massive spending spree this summer.

Signings

So far City have signed strikers Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor, midfielder Gareth Barry and defender Kolo Toure. Other high profile signings are still expected.

After signing for City in the summer of 2007 for £8 million from Shakhtar Donetsk his record at the club will show that he played eighty times and scored eighteen goals. What that record will not show is that, at times, he played with the type of exquisite skill and rare flair that we rarely see in the English game.

Attitude

The problem with Elano seems to centre around his attitude and work-rate. It seems that he has to be ‘in the right mood’ to produce his brilliance. Many Manchester City fans have said that he fails to ever produce his best in away games, but to be fair, that could be said of a lot of City’s players in the recent past.

It is true that Elano is inconsistent and it is true that when the team have got to roll their sleeves up and battle it out for a result he is not one of the best to call on. It is true that he is something of a luxury player and you have to put up with an awful lot of mediocrity in order to see the brilliance. It is also true that he would have probably only been a bit part player this season.

Sad

Despite all that I can’t help feeling a little sad that he is leaving the English game. He is one of the few players with the ability to do something that takes your breath away. I wish him well at Galatasaray.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Former England football boss Robson dies

Former England and Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson died on Friday at the age of 76 after a long battle with cancer.

Robson, who had been fighting cancer for a number of years, led England to the World Cup semi-finals in 1990 before leaving to manage a host of top European clubs including PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and finally his boyhood team Newcastle.

A statement issued on behalf of his family said: “It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

“He died very peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

“Sir Bobby’s funeral will be private and for family members only.

“A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby’s life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

“Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time.”

As a player, Robson was a key member of the Fulham and West Brom team during the 1950s and 1960s and also won 20 caps for England.

His first managerial role came at Fulham, but he made his name during a successful reign at Ipswich from 1969 to 1982.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Valencia will not sell Silva

Valencia president Manuel Llorente insists the club will not sell David Silva this summer.

The Spain international has been linked with a summer move to the Premier League.

Liverpool and Manchester United are reported to be among the clubs interested in the talented winger.

“The club is not interested in selling this player,” Llorente told the local Valencia press.

“We have not received any formal offers and it is not in our plans to consider David’s exit.

“There is still one month left until the transfer window closes, but our decision on this subject will not change.”

[Source: Sky Sports News]

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Mido returns to Egypt

Middlesbrough forward Mido has joined Egyptian giants Zamalek on a season-long loan deal.

The 26-year-old could make the move permanent at the end of his loan period.

Boro will get an initial £4million and could pocket a further £1million if the move becomes permanent.

Zamalek spokesperson Sabri Serag told the club’s official website: “Chairman Mamdouh Abbas exerted lots of efforts to wrap up the deal.

“We paid Middlesbrough £4million to acquire Mido’s services. We can also sign him permanently next summer if we pay £1million to the English side.”

Mido had been expected to leave Middlesbrough following their relegation to the Championship.

[Source: Zamalek’s official website]

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Finnan joins Portsmouth

Portsmouth have completed the signing of the Republic of Ireland international Steve Finnan.

The former Fulham and Liverpool star has signed a one-year deal with the Premier League side.

Finnan failed to settle at Espanyol last season and his contract with the Spanish side was terminated earlier this month.

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart said: “It whetted my appetite to think that we could get a player of Steve’s calibre here.

“He’s really looking forward to coming here and we’re looking forward to seeing him play.”

Portsmouth have also confirmed the signing of former Blackburn midfielder Aaron Mokoena.

Mokoena has signed a three-year deal with the club.

[Source: The Telegraph]

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Injury scare has Beckham in doubt

England star midfielder David Beckham missed practice for therapy on a back injury, raising doubts the Los Angeles Galaxy star will be able to play against FC Barcelona here on Saturday.

Beckham sustained the injury three days ago but downplayed the pain in his back, saying he expects to practice on Friday.

“It’s not a problem,” Beckham said. “I’ve had something like this in the past. It comes up every now and then. I just did my work in the gym and got some treatment.”

Barcelona comes off an unprecedented treble, having won the European Champions League, Spain’s first division title and the Spanish Copa del Rey crown this season.

Beckham plans to play against the European side before the Galaxy return to the hunt for a Major League Soccer playoff berth.

“I hope so, unless I have a bad reaction from the last couple of days,” said Beckham. “But I think it will be fine. It’s feeling a lot better that it was so, fingers crossed, it will be good.”

Arena was confident that Beckham will be available, saying, “We expect him to be ready on Saturday” and that the England stalwart was “just nursing something.”

After two lackluster seasons serving as an attendance and television viewership lure, Beckham finds himself the target of jeers. He challenged Galaxy fans who yelled at him during a home exhibition against AC Milan to meet him on the field and was fined 1,000 dollars for the move.

Beckham said the secret to handling fan abuse was “just ignoring it as much as you can.”

Fri 31 July, 2009
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