Ferdinand’s party ruined
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand saw his testimonial party ruined by Sevilla as the Spanish side won 3-1 at Old Trafford on Friday. Ferdinand was celebrating 11 successful years with United, but the former England star ended the night on the losing side as his club’s inconsistent preseason form continued. While it was only a friendly and most of United’s senior stars missed out in readiness for today’s Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley, it does mean they have won just two of seven preseason matches since David Moyes replaced Alex Ferguson as manager at the end of last season. Following the failure to make any significant signings to date and the continued uncertainty over Wayne Rooney’s future, the result is hardly the ideal backdrop to a Premier League title defense that starts at Swansea next Saturday.
Player charged with murder
Slavia Sofia midfielder Borislav Baldzhiyski has been charged with murder after a man was killed on Tuesday in the Sofia district of Krasno Selo, Bulgarian police said on Friday. “He was charged by the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office after we presented a detailed report,” a police official told reporters, adding that the suspect had been arrested after video footage of the crime. Police said that a 35-year-old man has been found dead outside a casino soon after the end of the Champions League match between Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade and Bulgarian champions Ludogorets. Former Bulgaria under-21 international Baldzhiyski, who recently joined Slavia from Chernomorets Burgas, could face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.
McCaw ‘ready’ for Tests
Forty minutes was all it took for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to declare his World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw ready to return to the rigors of Test rugby. “I don’t think he’s going to be good enough, I know he’s going to be good enough,” Hansen said after McCaw played half a game in All Blacks practice matches against squads of provincial Wellington and Canterbury teams. McCaw admitted he was “pretty happy” with his performance on Friday night, eight days from the opening Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Sydney. It was the first run with the All Blacks for McCaw since he returned last month from a lengthy seven-month holiday which kept him out of the June Tests against France.
Marshall signs for Blues
Rugby league star Benji Marshall confirmed yesterday he is switching to rugby union, signing for Super 15 side Auckland Blues with hopes of making the All Blacks. “It gives me great pleasure to announce that I’ll be joining the Auckland Blues,” Marshall said on the Blues’ official YouTube channel, ending months of speculation about his future. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to hopefully bring a title to the Blues and hopefully, maybe, one day represent the All Blacks,” the New Zealand-born playmaker said. Australian sides the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels were also chasing Marshall’s signature after he announced he was ending his lengthy relationship with Sydney league club Wests Tigers. Marshall has committed to a lucrative two-year deal with the Auckland franchise for next year and 2015, understood to be worth close to NZ$500,000 (US$400,000) a season.