Barcelona have sacked coach Ernesto Valverde and replaced him with former Real Betis coach Quique Setien. Valverde, 55, helped the club to two successive La Liga titles and lead on goal difference this season. However, the Catalan side have produced a series of unconvincing displays under his leadership and have failed to reach the Champions League final.
Badminton’s world number one Kento Momota has been injured in a fatal crash in Malaysia. Japan’s Momota, 25, was travelling in a van with three members of his support team when it collided with a truck. The driver of the van was killed but it is understood no-one else suffered serious injury.
The Kansas City Chiefs staged a thrilling comeback from 24-0 down to beat the Houston Texans 51-31 and advance to the AFC Championship game. Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes threw for four touchdowns in the second quarter to overhaul the Texans’ early lead. Kansas City scored 41 unanswered points and dominated the second half. The second seeds now host the Tennessee Titans, who beat the Baltimore Ravens in the other AFC divisional game, for a place at Super Bowl 54.
Sergio Ramos scored the decisive spot-kick as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 on penalties to win the Spanish Super Cup. The Real captain sent Jan Oblak the wrong way to secure the trophy after a goalless 120 minutes in Saudi Arabia. Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey missed their penalties for Atletico.
Iran’s only female Olympic medallist, Kimia Alizadeh, says she has defected. Alizadeh, 21, posted on social media that she had left Iran because she didn’t want to be part of “hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery”. She described herself as “one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran”. Alizadeh did not say where she was, amid reports that she has been training in the Netherlands. She made history for Iran in 2016 when she won a bronze medal in taekwondo at the Rio Olympics.
Serena Williams won her first title in three years and first since becoming a mother with victory over Jessica Pegula at the Auckland Classic. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion beat her fellow American 6-3 6-4. It is the 38-year-old’s first singles title since she won the Australian Open in 2017 and her 73rd WTA title overall.
US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the Australian Open in Melbourne as she continues her recovery from a knee injury. The Canadian, ranked sixth in the world, picked up the injury at the season-ending WTA Finals in October. Andreescu beat Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows in September to win her maiden Grand Slam title.
Malaga have sacked head coach Victor Sanchez four days after he was suspended following the publication of an explicit video of the 43-year-old on social media. The Spanish second-tier side said Sanchez had been dismissed for “disciplinary reasons”, adding that they had been unable to agree terms on a mutual termination of his contract. “Malaga took this decision in consideration of the serious harm the recent non-sporting events have done to the club,” a club statement added.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed its interest in hosting the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmad told the French radio station RFI that Equatorial Guinea are also interested in hosting the event. CAF is in a race to find a host for the finals after Congo-Brazaville pulled out of the hosting of the 12-team event last year.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic said scoring his first goal for AC Milan since rejoining the club made him “feel alive” as his side eased past Cagliari in Serie A. Rafael Leao had given the Rossoneri the lead just after half-time before Ibrahimovic, starting for the first time since his return, doubled their advantage with a left-footed strike. The former LA Galaxy and Sweden striker had another goal ruled out for offside. “I’ll celebrate like a God at San Siro, not here,” Ibrahimovic said.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been ruled out until April after the club said he needs surgery on a hamstring injury. Kane, 26, suffered the injury during Tottenham’s defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day. No timescale was originally given on the England captain’s return but Spurs now say specialists have advised surgery is required. He will return to training in April, two months before Euro 2020 begins.
Lazio have been fined 20,000 euros for their fans’ racist abuse of Brescia striker Mario Balotelli. Sunday’s Serie A match was temporarily halted and a stadium announcement made during the game urging away fans not to sing discriminatory songs to Balotelli. Balotelli, 29, later said the fans should be ashamed of themselves.
Nigeria and Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala was named the African Women’s Player of the Year 2019 ahead of Valerenga and Cameroon forward Ajara Nchout and Beijing BG Phoenix and South Africa forward Thembi Kgatlana. Cameroon, who lost 3-0 to England in the last 16 of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, picked up the prize for African Women’s National Team of the Year.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane has been named the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Player of the Year. The Senegal forward beat Liverpool team-mate and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah and Manchester City’s Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez to the award. Mane, 27, helped the Reds to the 2018-19 Champions League title, scoring 30 goals in all competitions last season.
Guingamp striker Nathael Julan has died after being involved in a car crash following training on Friday. Reports said the accident happened in Pordic, Brittany. Frenchman Julan, 23, began his career at Le Havre in Ligue 1 and made 11 senior appearances for Guingamp.
David Moyes has been appointed as West Ham manager and will return for a second spell at the club. The Scot, 55, has signed an 18-month deal and starts with the New Year’s Day home game against Bournemouth. He replaces Manuel Pellegrini, who was sacked after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by a much-changed Leicester side.
West Ham have sacked manager Manuel Pellegrini after a 2-1 home defeat by Leicester City – their ninth loss in the past 12 games. The Hammers’ latest defeat on Saturday leaves them 17th, one point above the Premier League relegation zone. “It is with great disappointment that we’ve had to make this decision,” said joint-chairman David Sullivan.
Former Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has rejoined AC Milan on a six-month deal, with the option for another season. The 38-year-old was a free agent after leaving LA Galaxy at the end of the Major League Soccer season. The Serie A side said Ibrahimovic “will be in Milan on 2 January, 2020 to take his medical” and join his team-mates. “I’m coming back to a club I hugely respect and to the city of Milan I love,” Ibrahimovic said.
Russia has appealed against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision to ban it from all major sporting events for four years. The ban means Russia’s flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has sent a letter to WADA stating that it “disputes the ban in its entirety”. The case will now be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.