Heinze to leave Marseille
Marseille’s veteran Argentinian defender Gabriel Heinze confirmed on Friday that he would be leaving the French first division club at the end of the season. The 33-year-old, who touched down in Marseille in the summer last year from Real Madrid, insisted his decision to leave was not financially driven but came out of ambition, although he said he had not been in contact with any other club. “I think in a completely different way than the club owners,” he said. “It’s not a question of money, which is not everything in life. It’s a question of the project. [Coach] Didier Deschamps made me come here while speaking of the project and I see that this project will not carry on. The difference lies with the ambition of the project.”
Managers line up at Roma
The battle for AS Roma’s managerial position reached fever pitch on Friday with Luis Enrique, Didier Deschamps and Stefano Pioli all linked to the job. Pioli left Serie A side Chievo by mutual consent on Thursday having previously said he was flattered by reports of interest by Roma, who have been taken over by a US consortium and are set to replace interim coach Vincenzo Montella. Former Spain midfielder Luis Enrique, who has just left as Barcelona B coach, has been reported in the media as being on the verge of joining Roma, and Olympique Marseille boss Deschamps has said he may leave France and has been approached.
Ajaccio, Dijon promoted
AC Ajaccio and Dijon won promotion to Ligue 1 after finishing second and third respectively in the French second division on Friday. Evian, who clinched promotion a week ago, claimed the Ligue 2 title with a 4-3 home win against Metz on Friday. Corsica-based Ajaccio beat Nimes 2-1 away thanks to a Jean-Francois Riviere double, while Dijon lost 1-0 at Angers, but finished ahead of Le Mans on goal difference. RC Lens and Arles-Avignon have already gone down from Ligue 1. Seven teams, from 12th placed Auxerre to 18th-placed Monaco, will try to avoid filling the last relegation place today.
Bhuyan in provisional squad
Bangladesh have included Danish-born midfielder Jamal Bhuyan in their provisional squad for next month’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Pakistan, making him the first European-based player to be called up. “For some time we have been scouting talent among Bangladeshis living abroad and Jamal is the one we are really looking at,” said Badal Roy, chairman of the national team management committee. Jamal, son of a Bangladeshi family living in Denmark, was born and brought up in Copenhagen and played for FC Copenhagen, one of the country’s top clubs, at under-19 level.
Marquinhos named in squad
Coach Lothar Matthaeus has included Brazilian-born Marquinhos in the Bulgaria squad for their Euro 2012 Group G qualifier against Montenegro on Saturday. Midfielder Marquinhos, one of five Bulgarian Cup-winning CSKA Sofia players in the 22-man squad, recently received Bulgarian citizenship and is now eligible to play for the Balkan country’s national team. Germany’s former World Cup winning captain Matthaeus will have to do without suspended Terek Grozny midfielder Blagoy Georgiev in the game in Podgorica that Bulgaria must win to retain any realistic hope of qualifying for next year’s finals.