PSG hope to sign Honda
Cash-laden Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have earmarked 13 million euros (US$16.9 million) to acquire Japan and CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda, a Japanese daily reported yesterday. The French side have already contacted CSKA after preparing the transfer money for 25-year-old Honda, who helped Japan to the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup and to the Asian Cup title last year, the Sports Nippon said, quoting PSG sources. PSG attempted to acquire Honda in the middle of last year, but a transfer did not materialize as the Russian side set a fee of 25 million euros, the daily said. Honda’s contract with the Moscow team will expire in January next year.
Pato spoils Ancelotti debut
Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) ended in defeat on Wednesday as the big-spending Ligue 1 side were beaten 1-0 by his old club AC Milan in a mid-season friendly in Dubai. Ironically, reported PSG target Alexandre Pato claimed the game’s only goal, the Brazilian striker applying an innovative close-range finish to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s low cross in the fourth minute. Antonio Nocerino hit the bar for Milan with a spectacular overhead kick in the 18th minute, but PSG had plenty of chances to draw level, with Nene a danger throughout. The Brazilian forward thought he had scored direct from a corner late in the second half, only for the goal to be ruled out because the referee was not ready.
Danilo arrives at Porto
Highly rated Brazilian Danilo arrived at Portuguese champions Porto on Wednesday, with fans eagerly anticipating his debut after his 13 million euro (US$16.8 million) transfer from Santos in July. The 20-year-old, a member of the Brazil side that won the World Under-20 title last year, is the second most costly transfer in Portuguese soccer history after his compatriot and new teammate Hulk, who joined Porto for 19 million euros in 2008. Danilo, who is primarily a midfielder, but can also play at right-back, signed a five-year contract with Porto, but Santos got agreement from the Portuguese side that he could stay until the winter transfer window.
Wolfsburg sign strike pair
Wolfsburg took their number of winter break signings to five on Wednesday when they announced the arrivals of Portuguese striker Vieirinha and French forward Giovanni Sio. Former Porto player Vieirinha, 25, signed from Greek outfit PAOK Salonika, while former French youth international Sio, 22, joined from Swiss club FC Sion. Both players signed three-and-a-half-year contracts, with Sio reported to have cost 5 million euros (US$6.5 million). “Giovanni Sio is a talented attacking player who can score goals as both a forward and an attacking midfielder,” Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath said.
Coin explain offside rule
It’s a subject that often triggers long and heated debate among confused soccer fans, but the offside law has now been explained on the back of a British coin. A commemorative ￡0.50 piece being released as part of the build-up to this year’s Olympics gives a simple explanation of the offside rule via a diagram. Sports journalist Neil Wolfson designed the coin after entering a public competition two years ago. “I’m a sports journalist by trade and I saw this opportunity as a natural extension of what I do,” Wolfson said.