Subotic opts for Serbia
Bosnian-born defender Neven Subotic has chosen to play soccer for Serbia instead of the US. Subotic, who holds a US passport, has played for the US under-17 and under-20 teams. He now plays for Borussia Dortmund in the German league. Subotic wrote to US soccer officials, informing them of his decision to play for Serbia. “We wish Neven all the best and continued success in the future,” US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said on Thursday. Subotic had until next Dec. 10, his 21st birthday, to chose his senior national team under the rules. He could have picked the US, Bosnia or Serbia. Serbia coach Radomir Antic has said he plans to pair Subotic with Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic in the center of Serbia’s defense in next year’s World Cup qualifiers.
Reims appoint Fernandez
Former Paris Saint-Germain and Athletic Bilbao coach Luis Fernandez has agreed to take over as coach at struggling French second division side Reims, club sources said on Thursday. The much-traveled Fernandez, 49, has been working as a television commentator since he stood down as manager at Real Betis in Spain in June last year, but he has always said that he would be ready to return to coaching if the offer was right. Reims are currently bottom of France’s second divison, a long way from their glory days of the 1950s and 1960s when they were one of the best teams in Europe.
Conte fingers Mosley
Victor Conte says boxer Shane Mosley would arrive by limousine for visits to his office where Conte provided him with steroids, USA Today newspaper reported on Wednesday. Conte, whose BALCO laboratories sparked stunning scandals in athletics and baseball, alleges in court papers filed on Tuesday that he charged Mosley US$900 for blood-boosting drug EPO and US$600 for the steroids known as “the cream” and “the clear.” Conte says he also billed Mosley US$200 for the limousine Mosley used to get around in. He also charged him US$150 for blood work before Mosley’s 2003 title fight against Oscar De La Hoya. Conte is trying to have a defamation suit filed by Mosley against him dismissed.
Ramos looks to improve
Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos said on Thursday that the Spanish champions, trailing in fifth position behind arch rivals Barcelona in La Liga, were experiencing “a complicated situation.” Yet the former Tottenham Hotspur boss, who replaced Bernd Schuster at the Bernabeu this month, insisted things would only get better. “The team’s experiencing a complicated situation, but I’m hopeful and I like challenges,” Ramos wrote on his personal Web site on Thursday. “I’m sure the team’s going to get better ... we’re not even at the halfway point of the season and we can still achieve lots of things and above all give satisfaction to our fans.”
Pierce not ready to retire
Two-time Grand Slam champion Mary Pierce isn’t ready to hang up her racket just yet. Despite being sidelined by a knee injury since 2006, the Frenchwoman told sports daily L’Equipe that she’d like to play again at the French Open. “I care about Roland Garros. If I could stand in center court for one match, that would already be a big victory,” she said. “I don’t feel it’s the right moment [to announce my retirement],” she told L’Equipe, adding that her left leg was weak, but her knee had recovered.