Real remain top of rich list
Real Madrid have become the first club in any sport to generate more than 500 million euros (US$665.6 million) in revenue in a single year, according to the business advisory firm Deloitte. The company’s Football Money League, published for the 16th time yesterday, sees the Spanish champions retain their hold on first place ahead of perennial rivals Barcelona. In an unchanged top six, Manchester United remain third, Bayern Munich fourth, European champions Chelsea fifth and Arsenal sixth, but English champions Manchester City soar five places to seventh. AC Milan fall one place to eighth, with Liverpool remaining ninth and Italian champions Juventus rising three places to complete the top 10. Real Madrid’s revenue rose by 7 percent to 512.6 million euros in the 2011-2012 season. It enabled the nine-time European champions to hold onto top spot in the ranking for an eighth successive year, matching United’s record from 1996-1997 to 2003-2004. Overall, the combined revenue of the world’s 20 highest-earning clubs grew by 10 percent year-on-year to reach 4.8 billion euros.
Roma edge Inter in Coppa
AS Roma beat Inter 2-1 in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final on Wednesday. Alessandro Florenzi gave Roma the lead when he headed Ivan Piris’ cross into the top-left corner in the 13th minute. Roma were dominating and Mattia Destro doubled their advantage 20 minutes later, getting in between two Inter defenders to head home another Piris cross. The capital club had further chances to extend their lead, before a howler allowed Inter to get back in the game a minute from halftime. Roma’s Nicolas Burdisso was caught napping, allowing Rodrigo Palacio to rush in completely unmarked and slot home Esteban Cambiasso’s free-kick. It was Palacio’s second goal against Roma in a week, after he scored in Sunday’s 1-1 draw in Serie A. The second leg was meant to be played next week, but has been moved due to a Six Nations rugby union match and will take place in April.
Abidal back in hospital
Barcelona defender Eric Abidal will be hospitalized for up to four days for checks on his liver transplant, the Spanish club said on Wednesday. “Eric Abidal will spend between three and four days at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona for examinations of the development of the transplant that he underwent last April,” the team said in a statement. “By express wish of the player, the club is asking for the utmost respect for his privacy and confidentiality.” The 33-year-old player returned to training with his Barcelona teammates last month after getting the all-clear from doctors. He had a liver transplant operation on April 10 last year, just over a year after a tumor was removed from the organ.
Baggio quits technical post
Roberto Baggio quit his technical post with the Italian soccer federation on Wednesday, claiming he was deliberately prevented from carrying out his job. “They didn’t let me do the job I wanted to do. I am not of a mind to continue,” the 45-year-old, who had been hired as president of the technical sector, told Rai 1 television. “My 900-page program, presented in November 2011, has become a dead letter, but this is not a goodbye to football.” Baggio, nicknamed the Divine Ponytail during his playing days and a World Cup runner-up in 1994, took on the post in 2010 with the job of better coordinating young players in the national setup.