Luis Suarez received a rapturous reception as he made his first return to Anfield since joining Barcelona, playing the second half of a charity game between sides captained by Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, ESPN reports. The match ended 2 -2. Suarez was cheered on and off the pitch and formed a strike partnership with fellow ex-Liverpool player Fernando Torres in a match that raised at least £1 million for the Liverpool FC Foundation.
Newcastle United Football Company Limited announces a record £18.7m profit after tax, up from £9.9m in 2013. It is the fourth consecutive year of recorded profit. Operational losses of £600,000 in 2013 have been turned into an operating profit of £4.7m as they continue to outperform UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. Their turnover rose to £129.7m, up from £95.9m the previous year. Matchday revenue, which includes ticket sales and hospitality, dropped slightly to £25.9m from £27.8m in 2013, while season ticket renewal figures held steady, as did average Premier League attendances, which were 50,395 compared to 50,517 the previous season. The club’s debt remains at £129m in the form of an interest-free loan from owner Mike Ashley.
Tiger Woods has dropped out of the top 100 players in golf’s world rankings for the first time since 1996. Woods has slipped from 96 to 104, taking him beneath the likes of Romain Wattel, Emiliano Grillo and Daniel Summerhays. Nope, me neither. The 39-year-old American has not played since withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open on 6 February.
Former France international Luis Fernandez is poised to take over as coach of Guinea and replace compatriot Michel Dussuyer. A consultant with France’s RMC radio, Fernandez, 55, is expected in Conakry in the next few days, to sign his contract and conduct his first news conference. The Guinea Football Federation (FGF) has been looking for a replacement since Dussuyer quit as Guinea coach following their quarter-final exit from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Fernandez played 60 times for France and was a member of the side that won the 1984 European Championship title. He also coached Paris Saint-Germain to the 1996 Cup Winners’ Cup but his time in charge of Israel’s national team was not so successful. Fernandez was appointed in May 2010 to lead Israel in the Euro 2012 qualifiers but ended with a record of five wins, a draw and four losses in qualifying group F, eight points behind winners Greece. The Frenchman also came in for a barrage of criticism from local media for failing to establish a stable squad and made frequent and unorthodox changes to his line-ups. The much-travelled, vastly-experienced Fernandez has previously managed Spanish clubs Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol and Real Betis. His managerial journey includes stints with Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem, Qatar’s side Al-Rayyan and French club Reims.
Italy coach Antonio Conte received death threats following an injury to Juventus’s Claudio Marchisio, the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has revealed. The midfielder was suspected to have ruptured his knee ligaments as he trained for Saturday’s qualifier against Bulgaria, which Italy drew 2-2, BBC reports. Juventus have since confirmed the 29-year-old has not torn his ligament. England play Italy in a friendly in Turin on Tuesday. FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio told Italian radio station Radio Rai: “He received death threats on the internet.” “I saw Conte shaken this morning, I met with him for a long time and he is not calm.” He added: “All these things have been said on social networks and he feels vilified for something that is not his fault. The FIGC stands by him.” Former Juventus player and manager Conte said Marchisio injured himself in a training warm-up.
Stoke have announced that manager Mark Hughes has signed a new deal with the club through to the summer of 2018. Welshman Hughes, who previously managed Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham and QPR, has been in charge at the Britannia since May 2013. Hughes told the club website: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract. I think it’s exciting times for Stoke City; everyone can see there’s more progress to be made and we want to see how far we can take the club. “I believe we can do even better next season with a little bit more investment. Let’s see how far we can go.”
UEFA has ordered Dynamo Kiev to play its Europa League quarterfinal against Fiorentina with a partially closed stadium as punishment for fan racism against Everton. Two sections of the Olimpiisky Stadium will be shut for the first leg against Fiorentina next month, after UEFA ruled there was “racist behavior” during the 5-2 home win over Everton last week. Dynamo was also fined 15,000 euros (£11,000) because of fans setting off fireworks.
Sticking with the theme of football clubs doing things they shouldn’t, Hull have been fined £30,000 by the Football Association for failing to control their players against Leicester on March 14. City initially denied the charge but were on Friday found guilty of “failing to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion”. The incident was brought about by the reaction of a number of Hull players after Alex Bruce was booked by referee Jon Moss following a tackle on Riyad Mahrez.
Juventus and Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio suffers a knee ligament injury in the warm-up of a training session with the national team. The 29-year-old is expected to be ruled out for several months. He immediately underwent an MRI scan which revealed a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament,” Italy doctor Enrico Castellacci said.
Striker Eniola Aluko says she’s putting her career as a trainee solicitor on hold to focus on football. Writing in her exclusive BBC Sport column, Aluko says: “Now I’m qualified, my plan is to put law on the backburner and give football my full attention. It coincides nicely with what is the biggest year of my football career.” Aluko who plays for England and Chelsea Ladies is hoping to represent England in the Women’s World Cup in Canada later this year. His brother Sone Aluko plays for Hull City and Nigeria, the country of their parents.
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is one of several former Liverpool players who will return to Anfield to play in the charity match, to feature sides led by captain Steven Gerrard and retired vice-captain Jamie Carragher. Former Reds Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso will be also be involved in the game, organised by the Liverpool FC Foundation. The All-Star charity match at Anfield will take place on Sunday.
Former Scotland manager Berti Vogts is appointed technical advisor to the United States national team. Vogts, 68, previously worked with US manager Jurgen Klinsmann as a special advisor for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. “His knowledge and experience is a tremendous asset for us,” Klinsmann said. Berti Vogts also coached Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the past taking them to the quarterfinal of the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge could be ruled out for up to a month after suffering a muscle tear in his hip. The 25-year-old withdrew from the England squad on Monday, having sustained the injury in Liverpool’s 2-1 Premier League defeat by Manchester United on Sunday. Speaking ahead of Friday’s game against Lithuania, England manager Roy Hodgson said Sturridge was “devastated” and “didn’t want to leave” after scans showed the extent of the injury. Should Sturridge be ruled out for four weeks, he would miss Liverpool’s Premier League games against Arsenal and Newcastle United, their FA Cup quarterfinal replay against Blackburn Rovers and a potential semi-final against Aston Villa.
Newcastle United left-back Massadio Haidara looks set to be sidelined for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery. The 22-year-old Frenchman was stretchered off in the win over Aston Villa last month. Haidara’s absence leaves Newcastle facing a heck of an injury crisis at the back ahead of Sunday’s derby against Sunderland, with Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett also out injured and captain Fabricio Coloccini suspended.
Premier League clubs have agreed to share £1bn from the record TV deal with the rest of the English football pyramid. Lower league sides and grass-roots football stand to benefit, while clubs have also pledged to pay all staff the living wage by the start of the 2016-17 season. The TV rights sold for a whopping £5.1bn last month.
Stephen Keshi will return to take charge of Nigeria following lengthy contractual talks, says Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick, BBC reports. The 53-year-old, who initially took charge of the team in November 2011, has been offered a new two-year deal. His previous contract ran out after last year’s World Cup in Brazil, where Nigeria reached the second round stage. During his first spell in charge, Keshi won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. “The NFF executive committee met on Wednesday and finally approved the recommendation of the technical committee for Keshi to continue as the country’s coach,” said Pinnick. “We believe he deserves to continue and we expect him to sign this new contract in the coming days.” Keshi has been tasked to meet several targets and that the deal will be off if he does not agree. He is also required to sign a code of conduct and expected to work in line with the NFF technical committee.
Na wao! I thought Amaju will bring something different. Goodluck to you guys sha.
Chelsea captain John Terry has extended his contract at the club until the end of the 2015-16 season, BBC reports. The 34-year-old, whose previous deal ran out at the end of the current campaign, has made over 550 appearances for the Premier League leaders. Chelsea have a six-point advantage with a game in hand on their rivals and boss Jose Mourinho said: “This new contract is not to say ‘thank you very much’. “It is because John continues to perform. He is a top defender.” Mourinho recently said he could “guarantee” Terry would be offered a new deal, which is in line with Chelsea’s policy of offering those over the age of 30 only one-year deals. Terry has won 13 major honours with the Stamford Bridge club since making his debut in 1998, winning the Champions League, Europa League, three Premier League titles, five FA Cup trophies and three League Cup victories. He captained Chelsea to two top-flight titles in Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea but was not always selected by interim boss Rafael Benitez during an injury-troubled 2012-13 season. “I am happy that he completely deserves this new contract after a season where he has already played 40 matches,” added Mourinho.
Morgan Schneiderlin has reiterated his desire to leave Southampton this summer if the club doesn’t qualify for the Champions League. The France international had looked set for a move away from St Mary’s last summer when he was strongly linked with Tottenham, only for the club to refuse to let him leave. However, despite Southampton’s excellent progression this season Schneiderlin, who is currently away on international duty with the French squad, wants to play in Europe’s premier competition. “In August, I wanted to take a move but the club had lost too many players to agree to sell me,” he is quoted as saying in French newspaper L’Equipe. “Since then I have had discussions with the leaders and I want to play at the highest level: it is important at 25 years old to finally know the Champions League. “Given that, late in the season, Southampton may qualify for the Champions League and I can stay, who knows. I have no desire to be in front of my TV on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Theo Walcott has described as “complete nonsense” reports he had a training-ground bust-up with Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal forward has started just once in the Premier League since returning from an 11-month injury lay-off in November, although he did miss the whole of December with a separate injury. Walcott’s lack of action has been linked by some to his contract situation – the England international is inside the final 18 months of a deal which took months to agree before he eventually signed in January 2013 – and there were claims this week of a row with his manager. But those reports have been flatly denied by the player, who wrote on twitter: “I don’t normally comment on false stories about myself, but reports about contract demands and bust-ups with the boss are complete nonsense. “There have been no contract talks as yet and my current focus is not on contracts but on doing my best for Arsenal FC.” Wenger has frequently referenced the difficulty of negotiating with Walcott’s representatives and, when asked recently about any talks, the Arsenal boss joked that “the first contacts have been established with the embassy”.