Beckham included in squad
Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti shrugged off David Beckham’s trip to China on Thursday and admitted that he would be delighted if the former England skipper extended his deal with the French giants. Beckham, 37, left on his 16,500km round-trip on Wednesday last week before returning to Paris on Monday, visiting three Chinese cities as part of a long-planned ambassadorial role. Ancelotti included the veteran midfielder in his squad for the Ligue 1 leaders home clash against Montpellier Herault yesterday, despite some fears that he may not be fit enough to feature for the full 90 minutes. “If he were to come on with five minutes left in the match, then that would be manageable. If it was for an hour and a half, then that would not be reasonable,” club doctor Dominique Savelli said.
Haye returning to the ring
Former WBA champion David Haye is returning to the boxing ring as he plots a route to another world title fight. The 32-year-old British heavyweight will fight a yet to be determined opponent on June 29 in Manchester, England, with another bout scheduled before the end of the year. Haye was last in the ring in July last year when he beat Dereck Chisora, with his belief at the time that the success would lead to a fight with Vitali Klitschko for the WBC belt. That did not transpire, but Haye is ready to go in search of the mandatory challenger tag.
Ajmal could require surgery
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in all three forms of the game for the past two years, could require surgery for a suspected hernia after suffering stomach pains for the past two months. “I have been examined by doctors and they feel I could require surgery for a suspected hernia,” he said on Thursday. Ajmal, 35, said he could have the operation before Pakistan’s one-day series against Scotland and Ireland in late May. He said he would need a two-week break from cricket, but intends to take part in the Champions Trophy in England in June.
Gunner Diaby injured again
Abou Diaby’s injury curse struck again on Thursday when the Arsenal midfielder was ruled out for up to nine months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The 26-year-old France international midfielder suffered the injury in training on Wednesday and is due to undergo surgery. Diaby has been blighted by injuries since joining Arsenal from French club AJ Auxerre in 2006. He fractured and dislocated his ankle in May of that year and made only 27 league appearances over the following two seasons. Things improved in the 2010-2011 campaign, when he established himself in the Arsenal midfield, but a string of injuries restricted him to just five appearances last season and he has played only 16 times this season.
Gilbert, Phinney ruled out
Reigning world champion Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and Taylor Phinney of the US have both been ruled out of tomorrow’s Tour des Flandres, their team BMC announced on Thursday. Gilbert, who has twice finished third in the spring classic, is currently recovering from a cold and is not in suitable condition to take part, while Phinney has a knee injury and is hoping to return to peak condition for the Paris-Roubaix next Saturday. Britain’s Adam Blythe has been named in the BMC team for the race to help cover for the duo’s absence.