Toure praises Pellegrini
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure yesterday backed new manager Manuel Pellegrini to bring silverware to the team, describing him as “unbelievable.” The former Malaga coach got his first victory as City boss in a 1-0 win over South China in Hong Kong on Wednesday, having arrived in the region a day earlier after the death of his mother. “Unbelievable, great things, his ability to manage is unbelievable and he’s doing fantastically well,” Toure said of Pellegrini. “He’s a very good choice for Man City and I hope he’s going to bring a lot of trophies to Man City.”
Olympiakos snap up Saviola
Argentine striker Javier Saviola has signed a two-year contract with Olympiakos, the Greek champions announced on Wednesday. The 31-year-old former Real Madrid and Barcelona marksman was welcomed by about 2,500 Olympiakos fans outside the club’s headquarters after meeting with club president Vangelis Marinakis to finalize the deal. Greek media reported that Saviola will receive a yearly salary of 1.6 million euros (US$2.1 million) plus a bonus of 400,000 euros. The forward has won 40 caps for Argentina, scoring 11 goals, and arrives from Spaniards Malaga. He also played for SL Benfica, AS Monaco and Sevilla.
Ronaldo fan gets lucky break
An 11-year-old fan felt the raw power of a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick at a pre-season friendly when the Real Madrid star accidentally broke the youngster’s wrist. Charlie Silverwood was sitting behind the goal in the friendly between Bournemouth and the Spanish giants at the Goldsands Stadium when he parried the ball. “It went straight for me so I blocked the ball with the palm of my left hand and the force, I suppose, reverberated up my arm and broke my wrist,” Charlie told the BBC. “Real Madrid is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — seeing them play your local club — so I watched the rest of the match, mostly in pain considering I still had the sling, and afterward I then went to hospital. If I hadn’t blocked it with the palm of my hand I would have no front teeth.”
Real draw Lyon in friendly
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti saw his side come back from two goals down on Wednesday as they held Olympique Lyonnais to a 2-2 draw at Stade de Gerland. Ancelotti fielded a strong lineup that included Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, Germany’s Mesut Ozil and former Lyon star Karim Benzema. The teams know each other well after crossing swords in the Champions League 10 times since 2005, with spoils shared at three wins apiece. Midfield youngster Clement Grenier gave the crowd a fair return for their money after 20 minutes with a spectacular long-range goal that flew past Diego Lopez. Argentine Lisandro Lopez then gave Lyon a cushion with a close-range finish before Real began their comeback with 11 minutes to go. Spain under-21 player Alvaro Borja converted a penalty before new signing Casemillo of Brazil leveled with six minutes left.
Sevilla players, staff robbed
Sevilla players and staff were victims of a robbery at their hotel in Colombia while the Spanish team played a pre-season match against locals Atletico Nacional. In a statement, the club said thieves entered their hotel rooms on Tuesday and carried off suitcases. A hotel spokesman said the stolen items included computers, watches and cash with a total estimated worth of more than US$100,000.