Chinese Super League: Beijing Guoan 4 Shenzhen Ruby 0

Beijing Guoan moved back atop the Chinese Super League after a 4-0 thrashing of the struggling Shenzhen Ruby on Monday.

Honduran striker Walter Martinez struck a brace as Beijing found the back of the net three times in the first half in Beijing.

The hosts went ahead after 20 minutes through Martinez before Yu Yang doubled their advantage on the half hour mark.

Martinez guaranteed the points with another a minute before the interval and Australian forward Joel Griffiths added a fourth in the 63rd minute.

Beijing are a point clear of Guangzhou at the top, while Shenzhen Ruby are bottom with just one win from eight games.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Qatari bid teams responds to ´bought´ email

The winning Qatari 2022 World Cup bid team is considering legal action after FIFA’s Jerome Valcke claimed they bought the hosting rights.

In an email to FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, Valcke – the organisation’s secretary general – claimed Qatar paid to win the rights ahead of the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

But Qatar have hit back at the allegations and denied any wrongdoing.

“Qatar 2022 categorically deny any wrongdoing in connection with their winning bid,” they said in a statement on Monday.

“We are urgently seeking clarification from FIFA about the statement from their general secretary. In the meantime, we are taking legal advice to consider our options.”

The email was reportedly written in the past fortnight, with Valcke discussing the FIFA presidential candidacy of Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam.

“For MBH (Mohamed Bin Hammam), I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB (incumbent Sepp Blatter). Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC (World Cup),” the email read.

Valcke has confirmed the email, released by Warner after his suspension by FIFA from football activities on Sunday because of bribery allegations, is genuine.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Getafe end Michel tenure

La Liga outfit Getafe have parted ways with manager Michel after his contract expired at the end of the season.

Michel, 48, had been in charge of the club since April 2009, but only just avoided relegation this season after a draw at Real Sociedad on the last day.

The club confirmed former Real Madrid midfielder Michel – who led the team into Europe during his first term – would not be at the helm next campaign.

“Jose Miguel Gonzalez Martin del Campo, Michel, will not be in charge of Getafe next season,” a club statement read on Monday.

“The coach’s contract expired at the end of this season and, in the end, the club decided not to extend it.”

The club’s new owners, Royal Emirates Group, are likely to want European qualification next season.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Jones sacked by Cardiff

Dave Jones has been sacked from his role as manager of English Championship side Cardiff City.

The club announced their decision on Monday, having narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight after a loss in the playoff semi-finals against Reading.

Jones, 54, had been in charge of the team since 2005 but the performance during the 2010/11 season was deemed unacceptable by the club’s board.

“Following an overall review and reflection on the performance of the team over the 2010/11 playing season, it has been decided to give Dave Jones notice to terminate his contract as manager of Cardiff City Football Club,” a statement from the club read.

CEO Gethin Jenkins said Jones had helped the club progress in the right direction since taking over from Englishman Lennie Lawrence.

“We would like to thank Dave Jones for his considerable efforts with the club over the past six seasons,” Jenkins said.

“He leaves his post in the knowledge that he has left the club in a far better position than when he arrived.”

“Dave’s tenure has seen Cardiff City Football Club develop from a standpoint of Championship stability through to becoming regular promotion contenders, while also having taken the team to an FA Cup Final.”

Jenkins, who will lead the search for a new manager with director Alan Whiteley, also thanked Jones for his help in developing the club’s facilities and players.

Jones has been linked to the vacant post at the relegated West Ham United, but it is believed former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce is favourite for the role.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Rain can´t damped United parade

Manchester United’s title winning squad was greeted by thousands of fans during a parade through the city on Monday.

Rain greeted the open-top bus as United showed off their record-breaking 19th English Premier League title, albeit after a 3-1 loss to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday.

Striker Dimitar Berbatov was part of the parade despite not being included in the squad for the final at Wembley.

Veterans Paul Scholes, who has been offered a one-year contract extension but has not yet accepted, and Michael Owen, whose contract has expired, were also part of the trip from the city centre to Old Trafford.

Forward Wayne Rooney said it was important the players forgot about Saturday’s defeat and turned their attentions to next season.

“Winning the league is a massive achievement. We have to forget about what happened on Saturday and move on,” he told MUTV.

“The idea now is to win the 20th (league title). We will be fighting hard to make sure we are there again next season.”

Defender John O’Shea, who like Berbatov was not selected in the squad against Barcelona, said the parade would help the players move on from the loss.

“With the weather, we wondered if anyone would turn out,” he said.

“We never should have doubted it. It makes you realise how important this club is to people and will help the players get over what happened on Saturday.”

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Valcke: ´Bought´ email genuine

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has confirmed an email sent by him suggesting the Qatar World Cup was ‘bought’ is genuine.

Suspended FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner brandished the email to media at a press conference on Monday, part of his promised ‘football tsunami’ aimed at President Sepp Blatter.

Blatter is set to run unopposed for re-election on Wednesday after his only challenger, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, was suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee pending corruption allegations.

Bin Hammam and Warner are accused of lavishing Caribbean Football Union officials with cash and gifts in return for their votes in the June 1 presidential election.

In the exchange, Valcke said he expects Bin Hammam to withdraw from the vote once he realises he cannot ‘buy’ the election in the same way he did Qatar’s successful 2022 bid.

Valcke has confirmed the email is genuine but said Warner had excised selected parts of the document.

“It was a private e-mail and we will discuss it,” Valcke told reporters in Zurich on Monday.

“He sent me an e-mail asking if I want that (Bin Hammam to run), he said that I should ask Bin Hammam to pull out.”

Warner also accused Valcke of influencing the ‘kangaroo court’ which suspended him and Bin Hammam on Sunday, a charge which Valcke denies.

“The first time I met the chairman of the ethics committee was yesterday at five o’clock before we went to the press conference. I had no contact at all with anyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, UEFA President Michel Platini has denied another of Warner’s claims, that he was ‘annoyed’ after Blatter made an unauthorised US$1 million payment to CONCACAF at a meeting earlier this month.

Platini confirmed he approached Blatter about the matter but insisted it was a joke.

“It’s not like that, it was a joke with me and Mr Blatter,” Platini said.

“He can give the projects that he wants to give. I joke, I said, ‘but Sepp this was not accepted by the committee’ – but he can give many projects to many national associations.”

“In many Congresses for many, many years the president can give one or two projects to national associations – he has his own budget and he can give to one confederation and then it has to be approved by the executive committee next time.”

Finally, unconfirmed reports are circulating that China’s Zhang Jilong will temporarily take charge of the AFC in Bin Hammam’s absence.

Zhang failed to secure a place on FIFA’s executive committee at a vote in Doha earlier this year.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Sir Alex to bid for Luka Modric; Lucho Gonzalez looking to leave Marseille

Sir Alex to bid for Luka Modric

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is planning a £20 million bid for Tottenham star Luka Modric, Daily Mail reports.

The Scottish manager is looking to reinforce the squad following the disappointing defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final, after hinting that he might stay at Old Trafford for another three years.

Fergie is desperate to close the gap behind mighty Barca and he believes Tottenham’s playmaker Luka Modric is the perfect man for the job.

With Paul Scholes well past his prime, United clearly lack the quality in the centre of the park and the Croatian midfielder is someone Ferguson has long admired.

Daily Mail suggests that the United gaffer will make a big in the region of £20 million, even if Tottenham are unwilling to part from their star player.

United are also reportedly closing in on Aston Villa winger Ashley Young, while few more signings could follow.

On the other hand, Ferguson is expected to get rid of several fringe players, with Dimitar Berbatov, Wes Brown, Owen Hargreaves and Gibson among those expected to leave Old Trafford.

The Scottish boss could even try to use Dimitar Berbatov in a swap deal that would take Luka Modric to Old Trafford.

Lucho Gonzalez looking to leave Marseille

Argentine playmaker Lucho Gonzalez is looking to leave Marseille at the end of the season, according to L’Equipe.

After Gabriel Heinze announced his departure from Marseille, another Argentina international is expected to follow his footsteps.

The most expensive signing in club’s history, Lucho Gonzalez wants to leave the club at the end of the season and will inform the club chiefs of his decision later today.

The Argentine midfielder has reportedly become unsettled at Velodrome, with the recent criticism of his performances just one of the reasons for his expected departure.

Even though OM are desperate to keep hold of their star player, the club chiefs are expected to respect the player’s wish and sell him this summer.

He won’t come cheap, however, as the French giants will be hoping to get a good portion of the €18 million invested in him.

The Argentine playmaker should be available for €13 million and for the time being Malaga are the only club willing to match the asking price.

Nonetheless, considering that El Comandante still has few good years ahead of him, there is no doubt that few more clubs will come into picture.

Lille star set to join Newcastle

Lille boss Rudi Garcia has revealed that midfielder Yohan Cabaye will join Newcastle at the end of the season.

Les Dogues last night celebrated the first Ligue 1 title after 54 years with a 3:2 win over Rennes, but the club chiefs now face a tough task of trying to keep the squad together.

Long-serving midfielder Yohan Cabaye was the first to announce his departure from Stade Lille Metropole, as Lille boss Rudi Garcia revealed.

“Yohan told us, to me then to the squad, that he had decided to join Newcastle,” Garcia told L’Equipe.

“It’s a choice I respect.”

The 25-year-old played a key role in Lille’s domestic double, scoring two league goals and setting up seven more.

His contract with Lille was due to expire in June 2013, but it also contained a €5 million release clause.

It appears that Newcastle United have matched that clause and ensured the signing of the highly regarded France international.

The Magpies are also keen on Lille forward Gervinho, although they face stiff competition from other Premier League clubs for the Ivory Coast international.

For more news about football transfers and rumours, visit our Transfer News section. To view all football transfers for 2010/11 season, visit our Soccer Transfers section.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Who will win promotion to the Premier League?

Reading and Swansea City come face to face in the Championship play-off final later today.

Both clubs have worked to get to the final and their season comes down to just one game. One set of fans will end the day elated and one deflated.

Money

Whoever gets promoted later today will know that they will receive an incredible amount of money from sponsorship and television revenue with £90million believed to be up for grabs.

The Premier League is the promised land for most Championship players, clubs and fans and these two clubs find themselves just 90 minutes away from the English top flight.

Experience

Reading have been in the Premier League in recent times but Swansea City haven’t been in the English top flight since the eighties. A lot of those players who played for Reading in the Premier League are now gone and Reading have a new young side.

Style

I have spoken about Swansea’s attractive style of play in previous articles. They are my favourite Championship team. Swan’s boss Brendan Rodgers has a very clear philosophy on how football should be played.

He has made no secret of his love of Barcelona and the way they play. Earlier in his career he spent time in the Catalan capital studying Barca’s training methods and style. He has very much tried to model his side on Pep Guardiola’s side. All his players seem comfortable on the ball and like to pass the ball.

Reading boss Brian McDermott also likes his side to play passing football. However I believe his side mix it up slightly more than Swansea.

Late

Reading left it quite late to get into the play-offs. The Royals had a good end to the season after looking inconsistent for most of the campaign. I’m sure most Reading fans wouldn’t have expected to be in the Championship play-off midway through the season.

Consistent

In contrast Swansea have spent most of the season at the top end of the Championship table. For a long time the Welsh side looked like they could secure automatic promotion. However a slight dip in form towards the end of the season saw the club slip out of the automatic promotion spots.

Stars

Much of today’s contest could depend on the teams top men. Reading’s top scorer Shane Long has been outstanding this season and if he is on song is hard to stop. The Irish international seems to pose a constant threat to opposition defences.

Swansea have a player who poses a similar problem. England under-21 international Scott Sinclair has been in blistering form this season. The former-Chelsea youngster has scored 24 goals playing as a winger and has shown exceptional skills at times this season.

The 22 year-old has been linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium this summer but he has vowed to stay with Swansea whatever happens against Reading. Sinclair has proved what he can do this season and I’m sure if the Swan’s do get promoted then he will be a success in the Premier League.

Excitement

There have been some classic Championship play-off finals in recent years. Last season’s play-off was certainly exciting with Blackpool beating Cardiff 3-2. For the neutrals the Championship play-offs are a fascinating watch.

Who will go up is hard to predict. Reading are a good side with a lot of forward momentum. They won’t give this chance up easily and will be hard to beat. Swansea on the other hand are a stylish side who have looked impressive for most of the season.

If I was going to stick my neck out though I would say that Swansea may just edge the contest in a very tight encounter. Their experience may just tip the balance of the game in their favour.

Whoever wins the game though will fully deserve their place in the Premier League next season, as both are good teams with very promising British bosses.

Who will win the Championship play-off final?

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Beaten Rossi likely to leave

The 3-1 Coppa Italia loss to Inter Milan was likely to be Palermo coach Delio Rossi’s last match in charge.

An emotional Rossi could not hold back the tears at the final whistle on Sunday.

“I wanted to give the Palermo fans something more. We’ll decide my future next week,” he said.

Rossi’s contract expires next month and, considering he was already fired and re-hired this season, he is expected to move on.

“I have to talk to the club and then we will evaluate together what is best for me, for the President and Palermo,” he said.

“On Tuesday, or sometime next week, I will meet President Maurizio Zamparini to talk about my future.”

Up to 50,000 Palermo fans travelled to Rome for their first Coppa Italia Final since the 1970s.

“These people deserve so much more. They always stood by us and supported the team, through thick and thin,” said Rossi, who shed tears during the trophy ceremony.

“Why did I cry? I wanted to give the Palermo fans something more, maybe something bigger than us.”

“A great performance was not enough, as the more experienced team won.”

The Sicilians dominated for large periods, but their finishing let them down, while Samuel Eto’o was clinical with his brace.

Reaching the final, win or lose, has allowed Palermo to qualify for next season’s Europa League.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Edwin van der Sar – one of the best

One of his highlights

In amongst all the deserved superlatives flying around for the wonderful performance of Barcelona on Saturday evening, it has almost gone unnoticed that one of the finest keepers of his generation and any other, made his last ever appearance in that game.

Disappointed

Edwin van der Sar was hugely disappointed to bow out with such a comprehensive defeat and with the second goal looking suspiciously like one he should have saved, but he can look back on a glorious career with his head held high.

“I played one game too many I think, it is not nice to lose of course. It is not always a given, I thank everyone for the memories. They had the better chances and we made one or two mistakes and they punish you. They are very good, you have to try and score the first goal and we didn’t do that.”

As for Messi’s goal, Van der Sar refused to accept that he was at fault.

“I thought I was positioned well. He tends to curl it into the far post but he didn’t.”

Legend

I think he was at fault, but for a legend of the game I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt!

Edwin van der Sar now goes into retirement aged forty and can look back on a wonderful career that has seen him play at the very top of the game in Holland, Italy and England. He has played a remarkable eight hundred and nineteen club games as well as a record one hundred and thirty internationals.

Giant

A look at what the six feet five inch giant has won in the game will show you that he is one of the best ever.

In his twenty year career he has helped his teams to win twenty-six trophies. At Ajax, amongst other cup wins, he won four Eridivisie titles and the Champions League. He then won UEFA Intertoto cups with Juventus and Fulham before winning, amongst other things, four Premier League titles and a Champions League with Manchester United.

He was the goalkeeper for Holland at four European Championships and two World Cups. He holds the record for playing more minutes of football at the European Championships than any other player.

Best

Van der Sar has been named best European goalkeeper on four occasions and has twice been voted as the best European club goalkeeper by UEFA. Three times, his fellow professionals have picked him as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.

He also holds a number of records. He is the oldest player to ever play in a Champions League final and also the oldest player to win a Premier League title. The period of one thousand three hundred and eleven minutes he went without conceding a goal in the 2008-09 Premier League season is a World record and he was the first goalkeeper to keep fifty clean sheets in the Champions League.

All in all, that is an astonishing career and he will be sorely missed in the game.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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