Prandelli hints at departure
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli hinted on Friday he may not look to stay at the helm after today’s Euro 2012 final against holders Spain, saying he had found the job grueling against a backdrop of match-fixing allegations in his homeland. “These past two months have been difficult — aside from my excellent rapport with the team and the Federation. [But] these two months have weighed heavily on me and there is not the serenity which I was looking for,” Prandelli told a news conference as he contemplated life beyond the final. “Shall I be on my way? I have already told you about the quality of life [and its importance to me] and I shall be reflecting on things more calmly. I do not want to say anything more for the moment — we shall return to this subject in three days [after the final],” said Prandelli, who took the post after the 2010 World Cup finals.
Lucio departs ‘amicably’
Brazilian defender Lucio has left Inter by mutual consent with two years left on his contract, the Serie A club said on Friday. Inter said in a statement that the split with the 34-year-old had been “amicable and mutually agreed.” The Brazilian had been under contract until June 30, 2014, and played in 136 games, scoring five goals during his three years in northern Italy. During his time with Inter he won a Serie A title, two Italian Cup titles, the Italian SuperCup, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
Marta leads Olympic bid
Five-time world player of the year Marta will spearhead Brazil’s bid for their first women’s soccer title at the London Olympics this summer.The 26-year-old was among the 18-woman team named on Friday by Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos. “Team training is going well and the way this team have gelled you could say we have the medal in our hands. It depends on us,” Barcellos said. The group will spend a week training in Brazil before traveling to Switzerland where they will compete in the Swiss Cup from July 14 to July 17 and play a friendly against Ireland as part of preparations for the London Games. Brazil have been drawn in Group E for the Olympics and open their campaign against Cameroon on July 25 in Cardiff. Their group also includes Britain and New Zealand. Brazil have lost the last two Olympic finals against the US.
Ceara to return from PSG
Brazilian full-back Marcos Ceara, who was a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain earlier this week, is to return home to sign for Cruzeiro, the Belo Horizonte-based club announced on Friday. Ceara, 32, had been at the Parc des Princes since the summer of 2007, when he was signed from Internacional in his homeland. He went on to play 140 league games, but rarely featured last season after Carlo Ancelotti took over as coach of PSG, who finished second in Ligue 1 behind Montpellier.
Club glad to secure Foster
West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke was delighted after getting goalkeeper Ben Foster to make his loan move from Midlands rivals Birmingham into a permanent switch. Former Manchester United keeper Foster, 29, has signed an initial three-year deal with a further two-year option. “I think the supporters will be delighted we’ve been able to keep him on board and make him our player,” said Clarke, who succeeded England manager Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns.