Belgian winger De Mul returns home

Former Ajax starlet Tom de Mul has returned home to his native Belgium by signing for Standard de Liege on a season long loan. The 24 year old joins Standard from Spanish La Liga outfit Sevilla, where he has struggled to break into the first team since joining them in 2007.

De Mul spent the latter half of the 08/09 on loan at Standard’s domestic rivals Racing Genk. A serious injury kept him on the sidelines for most of the 09/10 season.

De Mul, who began his career at Geerminal Beerschot, has also had a previous loan stint with Dutch side Vitesse.

[Source:- Standard]

Sat 31 July, 2010
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Hull midfielder leaves for Greece

Veteran Hull City midfielder George Boateng has left the Tigers and signed for Greek outfit Xanthi. The 34 year old was out of contract at the KC Stadium and opted for a move to Xanthi, who finished thirteenth in the Greek Super League last season. Boateng has signed a two year contract with the club.

The move brings an end to Boateng’s 12 year stay in England. He started his career with Excelsior in the Netherlands and also represented Feyenoord Rotterdam before joining Coventry City in 1998. He enjoyed his most productive spells at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, making over 100 appearances for both clubs. Boateng joined Hull in the summer of 2008.

Sat 31 July, 2010
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Wenger expects Arsenal to impress in Emirates Cup

Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal to use this weekend’s Emirates Cup clashes against AC Milan and Celtic to send a warning to their Premier League rivals.

Wenger’s side have gone five years without a trophy and finished well behind champions Chelsea last season, but the Gunners boss is convinced the north Londoners are ready to end that barren spell.

Arsenal have an early opportunity to underline their progress in a prestigious pre-season tournament, at their own Emirates Stadium, which includes seven-time European champions Milan, Scottish giants Celtic and top French club Lyon.

After spending most of the close-season fighting off Barcelona’s attempts to lure Cesc Fabregas back to the Nou Camp, Wenger is able to focus on assessing the development of his young squad and he expects positive signs.

“I am very confident we’ll do better than last season,” Wenger said. “We know in England that the Premier League is the biggest league in the world and everybody invests a lot of money.

“We invest in our work, in our beliefs, in the quality of our behaviour and I am confident that will pay off.

“We finished third last year and we hope we can improve on that. But the race will be tough.”

Fabregas made it clear to Wenger he wanted to rejoin Barca before the start of the season, but Arsenal are refusing to give in to their captain’s demands and there is no sign of the deadlock being broken.

The Spain midfielder will be absent this weekend as he recovers from helping his country win the World Cup, but Wenger is certain to face further questions about his desire to keep a potentially unhappy player.

With Fabregas missing, Arsenal fans will get a glimpse of how the future could look without their talisman.

New arrivals Marouane Chamakh, a Moroccan forward signed from Bordeaux on a free transfer, and Laurent Koscielny, a French centre-back bought from Lorient for 10 million pounds, are certain to feature for the Gunners.

While Wenger’s men head into the season with much to prove, Celtic will use their matches against Lyon and Arsenal to rebuild confidence after a potentially disastrous 3-0 defeat at Braga in the Champions League qualifying round on Wednesday.

Neil Lennon’s team travelled to Portugal hopeful of a positive result to keep them on course for a place in the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition.

Instead they slumped to a loss that places their progress in severe jeopardy and leaves Lennon with a dilemma over whether to risk his first-team players or rest them for next week’s second leg.

Milan, who finished third in Serie A last season, will be without Brazilian star Ronaldinho who has a leg injury.

Fixtures:

Saturday

Celtic v Lyon (1300GMT)

Arsenal v AC Milan (1520GMT)

Sunday

AC Milan v Lyon (1300GMT)

Arsenal v Celtic (1520GMT)

Sat 31 July, 2010
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Portugal coach Queiroz probed over insults

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz was on Friday asked to appear before the country’s football federation over claims he insulted a team of anti-doping agents prior to the World Cup.

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said they “want to speak to the national coach, which has not been possible until now as he has been abroad,” in a statement published on their website.

Queiroz reportedly insulted anti-doping staff as they tried to carry out unscheduled drug tests during Portugal’s pre-World Cup training camp in Covilha in May.

Portuguese press reports speculated that Queiroz, the former coach of Real Madrid, risked losing his job over the incident.

Queiroz, who is currently on holiday in Mozambique, responded by claiming he was “the victim of an attempted public lynching” and threatened to take the case to world football governing body FIFA.

“All it would have taken was a phone call and I could have explained everything,” he told Portuguese television station RTP.

Asked on Friday evening if Queiroz could lose his job over the incident, FPF president Gilberto Madail replied: “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Portugal reached the last 16 at the World Cup in South Africa, where they were eliminated by eventual champions Spain.

Sat 31 July, 2010
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Diarra “100 percent” committed to Bordeaux

Bordeaux captain Alou Diarra declared himself “100 percent” committed to the club here on Friday, despite speculation linking him with a move to French champions Marseille.

“My situation is that I’m 100 percent Girondin (Bordeaux),” he said during a press conference at the Parc des Princes ahead of the Paris Tournament pre-season competition. “I’m very happy to be at Bordeaux.”

The 29-year-old defensive midfielder is reportedly Marseille coach Didier Deschamps’s top transfer target and new Bordeaux coach Jean Tigana conceded that it might not be possible to stop him leaving the club.

“I’ve never put a veto (on Diarra’s departure),” said Tigana.

“Until now, there’s only been you (the media) that’s been talking about it. The press fantasise. If there’s a development, there’s a development, but the player has never spoken about it. It’s just rumours.”

Diarra also said he was ready to return to international action for France, insisting he had fully digested the effects of their disastrous World Cup campaign.

“My aim is to move on and concentrate on the future,” he said.

“It was a bad experience. It happens in the career of a footballer.”

Diarra also said he agreed with the decision of new France coach Laurent Blanc, with whom he worked for three years at Bordeaux, to suspend all 23 World Cup squad members for the August 11 friendly in Norway.

“Personally, it suits me,” he said. “I’m not at 100 percent (fitness) and you have to be at 100 percent to play for the national team.”

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain forward Ludovic Giuly played down rumours of a rift with coach Antoine Kombouare and said he hoped to finish the season at the team from the capital.

“I’m at Paris. I have a year left (on my contract), I’m very happy to be here and if not I would have already left,” said Giuly, 34.

“I want to finish my season with PSG. I’ve got no problem with Antoine. Everything’s going well. Whether I play or not, I’ll always be a PSG player.”

Bordeaux and PSG are both participating in the Paris Tournament, which begins at the Parc des Princes on Saturday, along with Porto and Roma.

Fri 30 July, 2010
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Brazilian goalkeeper charged with murdering ex

Bruno Souza, the Brazilian goalkeeper suspected of having his ex-girlfriend killed, was on Friday formally charged with her kidnap and murder, officials said.

The footballer, who played for Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo team, was also charged with sequestration (hiding a body), forming a criminal gang and corrupting minors, according to reports in leading national news websites.

Even though the body of the alleged victim, 25-year-old Eliza Samudio, has not been found, police wrapping up their probe on Thursday determined that Souza masterminded her death.

Seven other people, including an ex-policeman suspected of carrying out the premeditated murder on Souza’s orders, have also been charged. Souza’s wife was among them.

Samudio disappeared last month after being taken to Souza’s second residence near the southern city of Belo Horizonte.

The woman, who had a four-month-old baby she claimed was fathered by Souza, was believed to have been demanding child support. The baby was found to be in the care of Souza’s wife.

Souza was suspended from Flamengo — Brazil’s most popular club, which he once captained — when the allegations against him first surfaced.

Photos of the goalkeeper published on Friday showed him with a shaved head. Reports said he had burned his hair to hinder a DNA examination.

Fri 30 July, 2010
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Lyon admit Fenerbahce contact over Gomis

Lyon coach Claude Puel confirmed on Friday that Fenerbahce have made contact with the French club over a possible move for striker Bafetimbi Gomis.

“There’s contact between the two clubs,” Puel said during a press conference here ahead of the Emirates Cup pre-season tournament.

“It’s very simple. There’s interest from Fenerbahce (for Gomis)… but for the moment the conditions have not been met. Maybe they will be one day, maybe they won’t.

“There are economic and sporting factors we have to balance and we must take that into consideration.”

French sport daily L’Equipe reported on Friday that Lyon were hoping to sell Gomis to the Turkish side in order to fund a move for either Nice striker Loic Remy or Toulouse centre-forward Andre-Pierre Gignac.

L’Equipe claimed Gomis, who joined Lyon from local rivals Saint-Etienne a year ago, was against a move to Turkey.

Lyon will face AC Milan, Celtic and hosts Arsenal during the Emirates Cup, which takes place at the English club’s Emirates Stadium.

Fri 30 July, 2010
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Spartak sign defender Pareja from Espanyol

Russia’s nine-time champions Spartak Moscow boosted their defence by signing Argentinian centre-back Nicolas Pareja from Spanish top-flight side Espanyol, the two clubs said on Friday.

“It is a step forward in my career, because I am going to a league that is growing and to a top club playing the Champions League next season. It is a challenge,” the 26-year-old international defender told reporters in Spain.

“I feel great sadness for all that I leave here: family, friends and a team that I doubt is like any other. All employees of the club have treated me wonderfully. I spent two incredible years here.”

No financial details of the deal were disclosed.

Pareja started his career with homeland club Argentinos Juniors before joining Belgian giants Anderlecht, where he won the national title, Belgian Cup and Belgian Supercup.

In 2008 he won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing with the Argentina squad before joining Espanyol, for whom he played 58 matches and scored three goals.

Fri 30 July, 2010
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Real Madrid seal five-year deal for Khedira

Real Madrid announced on Friday that they had reached a deal with Stuttgart to sign their German international midfielder Sami Khedira, who shone during the World Cup, on a five-year contract.

The club released no financial details concerning the deal.

Khedira was under contract with Stuttgart until 2011. The defensive midfielder played seven matches during the World Cup in South Africa and scored the winning goal in the third-place play-off against Uruguay.

He made his first-team debut for Stuttgart in October 2006, winning the German league title in his first season, and scored a total of 14 goals in his 98 appearances for the club.

Fri 30 July, 2010
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Wenger tells Fabregas to stay and win title

Arsene Wenger has told unsettled captain Cesc Fabregas to forget about a dream move to Barcelona and focus on helping Arsenal win the Premier League.

Wenger is determined to keep Fabregas even though the Spain midfielder has made it clear he would love to return to the club he left to join Arsenal as a teenager.

Barca have gone public with their interest in Fabregas and are willing to pay around 30 million pounds (36 million euros) to sign the 23-year-old, leaving Wenger with the possibility of having an unhappy player on his hands if the transfer doesn’t happen.

Fabregas is not scheduled to return to England until after this weekend’s Emirates Cup as he was given extra time off following the World Cup final, but Wenger is confident he will still be with Arsenal when the transfer window closes at the end of August.

And he believes the prospect of leading Arsenal to a first league title since 2004 will inspire Fabregas to forget Barca and play at his best in the coming campaign.

“I always said Cesc Fabregas will be our captain next year and that we want to keep him. Despite all the speculation last season and the whole summer, nothing has changed,” Wenger said on Friday.

“Look at the length of his contract and you will see he has five or six years to go.

“When you sign a contract it means we are committed to a player to pay him and keep him no matter what happens.

“It is important we focus on the targets we have together. There is a great attitude and spirit inside the squad and Cesc Fabregas can help us achieve these targets.

“He is now at an age, 23 years old, and he has just won the World Cup. I believe he will grow in authority again for next season.

“The biggest achievement for him now is to help us win the championship.”

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol, an international team-mate of Fabregas, claimed this week that Arsenal are trying to keep hold of the player against his will.

But Wenger has made it clear to the Spanish champions that there is no chance he will change his mind about selling his prize asset.

“We do not negotiate. If I want to buy your house and you do not want to sell, you do not negotiate with me, that is completely normal,” Wenger added.

“There are all kinds of situations, but I believe what happens after is that when a player stays it is about how much he is focused on playing football.

“It is always in the interests of the player to perform. If he is a champion, he goes on the football pitch and wants to be the best he can. All the rest is a poor excuse for a football player.”

Fri 30 July, 2010
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