Drogba quits internationals
Veteran Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba on Friday announced his retirement from international soccer at the age of 36. “It is with much sadness that I have decided to retire from international football,” Drogba wrote on Twitter. “I am very proud to have been captain of this team for eight years and to have contributed to playing for my country on the world stage of football taking part in three [FIFA] World Cups and two Africa Cup of Nations finals. I cannot convey enough thanks to the fans for all the love and support during these years. All my goals, all my caps, all our victories are for you — I love you.” Drogba, who recently rejoined Chelsea for a second spell at Stamford Bridge, retires after scoring 66 goals in 106 games for the Elephants.
City seal Zuculini transfer
Manchester City completed their swoop for Argentina midfielder Bruno Zuculini from Racing Club de Avellaneda on Friday. Although Zuculini has officially sealed his move, the Argentina U20 international has been part of City’s pre-season tours of Scotland and the US, and scored in the Premier League champions’ friendly against Kansas City. The 21-year-old, who is available for today’s FA Community Shield tie against Arsenal, said he cannot wait to sample life at a major club after leaving his former Argentine team for a fee reported to be in the region of ￡3 million (US$5 million). In other transfer news, Aston Villa signed French defender Aly Cissokho from La Liga side Valencia on Friday. Cissokho agreed a four-year contract with Villa as the leftback made a quick return to the Premier League after spending last season on loan at Liverpool. The 26-year-old is believed to have cost Villa about ￡2 million.
Schneiderlin’s exit barred
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has said France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is not in the right frame of mind to play for the club after being told he will not be allowed to join the St Mary’s exodus. Schneiderlin attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, but Koeman is determined to hang on to the 24-year-old after a series of star departures from the Saints since the end of last season. England internationals Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert have all been sold, along with Croatia defender Dejan Lovren. With the squad being rebuilt and the club’s prospects looking grim, Schneiderlin wants to leave. Yet he held talks with Koeman and Saints chairman Ralph Krueger on Friday and was again told he would not be sold. Afterward, Koeman revealed the player was too unsettled to feature in yesterday’s friendly against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, saying Schneiderlin has to accept he will not be sold. “It is not unfair. Unfair is signing a new contract and wanting to go, that’s unfair... If this is still the situation next week then Morgan has a big problem.”
Hart faces fight to stay No. 1
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has warned Joe Hart he has no room for error if he wants to remain the team’s first-choice goalkeeper. Hart suffered a dip in form last season which saw him replaced for a month by Costel Pantilimon before the England international re-established himself as Pellegrini’s regular No. 1. City let Pantilimon to leave the club in June, but Pellegrini replaced him with Argentina’s Willy Caballero. “I have two No. 1 goalkeepers,” the Chilean said. “I am sure Willy will be very important for us, but I also continue thinking we have the best goalkeeper in England in Joe Hart.”
A sudden shortage of locks in Australian rugby union has opened the door for Matt Philip to reclaim his Wallabies jersey, but the Melbourne Rebels player says that the uncertainties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have left him with a difficult choice. The Australian yesterday named Philip among 16 Rebels players either set to leave the Super Rugby club or seriously considering it, underscoring the challenge Rugby Australia faces to retain talent. Linked with a move to Section Paloise Bearn Pyrenees, commonly referred to as Pau, in France’s Top 14, Philip said that he had yet to settle his playing future, and
As professional soccer returned to Denmark, fans used Zoom to be part of the action. Thousands of Danish soccer fans on Thursday logged on to the conferencing software and were transported to Ceres Park for a league match between AGF and Randers that heralded the resumption of the nation’s pandemic-affected soccer season. While the stadium itself was without fans, the faces of thousands of supporters who joined the Zoom call were shown on giant screens that ran along one side of the pitch. Families wearing club shirts and scarves cheered inside their living rooms. Some were seen clenching their fists in joy after
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier