Villa, Cuenca back for Barca
Barcelona had positive news on the injury front on Monday when David Villa returned to training and fellow forward Isaac Cuenca was declared fit after more than seven months out with a knee injury. Spain striker Villa has struggled to hold down a regular place in the side this season after breaking his leg at the Club World Cup at the end of 2011 and has been out for several weeks with a muscle strain. Cuenca, a Spain Under-21 international who broke into the side under previous manager Pep Guardiola, had surgery on the cartilage in his right knee at the end of May last year. With the two players back in action, all 25 members of Barca’s first-team squad trained together for the first time this season, the club said in a statement on their Web site. The Catalan club suffered their first La Liga defeat of the campaign to Real Sociedad on Saturday and face a stiff task in their next match, a Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg against Malaga tomorrow.
Ballardini returns to Genoa
Davide Ballardini has returned for his second stint as Geno manager of Genoa in less than two years, the struggling Serie A club said on Monday. Ballardini, previously in charge between November 2010 and June 2011, replaced Luigi Del Neri to become Genoa’s third manager of the season. Del Neri, fired after Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat by Catania, had been at the helm for only three months as he continued the succession of hirings and firings by volatile club president Enrico Preziosi. Preziosi has employed 10 managers since he took over the club in 2003, five of them on two occasions. Genoa, 18th in the 20-team Serie A table, are stuck in the relegation zone with 17 points from 21 games. Ballardini, 49, had four months as Cagliari manager last season.
NBA to review Kings sale
The NBA will review the agreement for the sale of the Sacramento Kings to an investor group that reportedly plans to relocate the club to Seattle, Washington. The NBA on Monday confirmed that the Kings’ owners, the Maloof brothers, have reached a deal with a group headed by Christopher Hansen, although the league did not address multiple reports saying that the new owners would move the club. “The NBA received an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen,” the NBA said in a statement. “The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board’s committee process for review.” Seattle has been without an NBA team since the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City following the 2007 and 2008 campaign. They are now called the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Clarke likely to miss game
Australian captain Michael Clarke is a serious doubt for today’s final one-day international against Sri Lanka after twisting his ankle. He was undergoing treatment and an assessment of his fitness was to be made later yesterday, Cricket Australia said. Sri Lanka lead the five-match series 2-1 after the fourth leg was washed out on Sunday. The tourists were chasing 223 runs to take the series after thrashing Australia in the second and third games. They needed 209 more runs off 46.4 overs with all their wickets intact when the umpires took the players off the Sydney Cricket Ground. Australia scored 222 for nine off their 50 overs.