Sun, Jan 26, 2014 - Page 18


Celta picks Betis apart

Forward Fabian Orellana scored two goals as RC Celta de Vigo beat bottom-place Real Betis Balompie 4-2 in the Spanish league on Friday, ruining the debut of coach Gabriel Calderon. Betis hired Calderon on Monday, their third manager of the season, after Juan Carlos Garrido was fired. However, the visitors continued to show the same holes in defense as Celta picked them apart following Ruben Castro’s opener for Betis in the 17th minute. Orellana headed in Rafina’s lobbed pass to level five minutes later and struck again in the 39th from a pass by Charles after the striker had made it 2-1. Charles set up another goal, this time for Manuel “Nolito” Agudo, in the 73rd, before Castro scored his second goal in the 78th.


Man U seals Mata deal

Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Spain playmaker Juan Mata from Premier League rivals Chelsea. “MUFC has reached agreement with Chelsea for the transfer of Juan Mata for a club record fee,” United said on their Twitter feed on Friday. “The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course.” According to media reports, the 25-year-old is to cost league champions United £37 million (US$61 million). The transfer fee breaks the previous record of £30.75 million the club paid Tottenham Hotspur for Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov in 2008. United do not have a game this weekend, but Mata, a skilful attacking midfielder, could make his debut in Tuesday’s league game against Cardiff City at Old Trafford. Mata won the Player of the Year award in his first two seasons, helping the Londoners win the 2012 Champions League and last year’s Europa League, but has been out of favor this season under manager Jose Mourinho.


Neymar cost Barca US$123m

The deal to sign Neymar cost Barcelona almost 90 million euros (US$123 million), including payments to the player and his family, the club said on Friday after the player’s father revoked a confidentiality agreement. The Brazil forward’s close-season move from Santos to the Spanish champions, which the club initially said was worth 57.1 million euros, is being investigated by a Spanish court for possible misappropriation of funds following a complaint from a Barca member. Sandro Rosell, who was named in the lawsuit, but denies wrongdoing, stepped down as president on Thursday. He said he wanted to protect the club’s image and alleged he and his family had been threatened. Barca had been reluctant to reveal all the details of the Neymar deal, citing the confidentiality agreement, but after a board meeting on Friday, Rosell’s successor Josep Bartomeu told a news conference Neymar’s father had given them permission to go public.


Fergie gets UEFA role

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is set to take up a role with European soccer’s governing body as a coaching ambassador, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Friday. Ferguson, 72, had a record-breaking 26-and-a-half-year tenure at Old Trafford before retiring at the end of last season after winning his 13th league title with the club. “Sir Alex will be chairman of the forum of elite coaches that meet every year. He will also be a member of the technical study group of the Champions League and the European Championship,” Platini said in Nyon, Switzerland.