Rossi’s Cup hopes alive
Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi has suffered ligament damage to his troublesome right knee, but not a rupture of the cruciate as feared, his Serie A club ACF Fiorentina announced on Monday. Rossi’s World Cup hopes had been thrown into turmoil on Sunday when he limped off the pitch in the 71st minute following a foul by Liandro Rinaudo in a 1-0 win over AS Livorno. The 26-year-old suffered a “second degree injury of the right anterior ligament,” his team confirmed after he underwent tests on Monday. However, Rossi’s agent, Federico Pastorello, posted a message on Twitter which suggested the striker could return to action within two months. “It looks like a sprain with damage to the collateral ligament,” Pastorello said. “In six or seven weeks he could be back on the pitch.” Rossi only returned to action this season following a lengthy layoff because of injuries to the same knee, but has hit 14 goals to become Serie A’s top scorer and is firmly in the World Cup plans of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.
Di Natale planning to retire
Udinese striker Antonio di Natale says he will retire at the end of the season. Di Natale announced the decision after Monday’s 3-1 home loss to Hellas Verona. “I’ve already made the decision, I’ve talked about it with my family and my agent. The club will know soon, but I’ll stop playing in June,” he said. Di Natale, who turned 36 in October, has been at Udinese for nearly nine years. He has scored 182 goals in 359 appearances in all competition for Udinese, twice finishing as Serie A’s top scorer. Di Natale also scored 11 goals in 42 matches for Italy, before retiring from internationals following Euro 2012. “I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know,” Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin said.
Clattenburg cleared by FA
Referee Mark Clattenburg was on Monday cleared of misconduct by the Football Association (FA) following a complaint from Southampton about his alleged comments to England midfielder Adam Lallana. Saints had complained about critical comments allegedly made by Clattenburg to Lallana in Southampton’s defeat at Everton last month. The Premier League club had claimed in a letter to the referees’ governing body, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), that Clattenburg, frustrated by Lallana’s constant appeals for decisions to go his side’s way, had told the player: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England — you never used to be like this.” Saints complained to the FA after PGMOL ruled out action against Clattenburg and said they did not want him refereeing any of their matches until the issue was resolved, but the FA has considered the complaint and will take no action against Clattenburg. “The FA has given its full consideration to this matter and it is our view that the comments, as disclosed in Southampton’s letter of complaint, do not constitute misconduct under the FA’s rules,” the FA said in a statement.
Millwall hire Holloway
Ian Holloway returned to management on Monday at Millwall. Holloway finds himself back at another south London club after leaving Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace in October. The 50-year-old replaced Steve Lomas, who was sacked last month after winning just five of 22 games. Millwall are currently only one point above the second-tier relegation zone and they bowed out of the FA Cup in a 4-1 defeat by fourth-tier Southend United on Saturday.