Gianfranco Zola has been sacked as manager of Cagliari after just 10 games in charge, with the Serie A club reappointing Zdenek Zeman as coach. Former Chelsea striker Zola replaced Zeman as manager in December but won just eight points from a possible 30.
Southampton officially have the most profitable youth academy in Europe, a new study has found. Saints academy graduates have generated transfer fees of £65m since July 2012, with Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana among the lucrative deals. Lille were second in the study by the CIES Football Observatory, with Real Sociedad third and Sevilla fourth.
Cologne’s Anthony Ujah has apologised for grabbing the club mascot Hennes VIII the goat by the horns when the striker celebrated a goal on Sunday. The 24-year-old Nigeria international struck his side’s fourth goal in their 4-2 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. He then ran to Hennes VIII, grabbed the animal by the horns and tried to drag it on to the pitch. “Sorry Hennes. I was a bit too rough on him,” Ujah wrote on his Twitter page next to a picture of the incident. The animal’s handler was initially taken by surprise by Ujah’s actions but managed to quickly recover and pull the goat back before the forward returned to the pitch as Cologne celebrated their first home win since October. Cologne sports director Joerg Schmadtke said: “Hennes is used to such stuff. He may have a bit of a sore neck.”
Lionel Messi scored a record-breaking 24th La Liga hat-trick and Luis Suarez struck twice as Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 6-1 at the Nou Camp to return to the top of the table in emphatic style. The Uruguayan got the ball rolling with an early goal and Gerard Pique doubled the lead shortly after the break, before Messi scored a treble inside 12 minutes which took him one hat-trick clear of Cristiano Ronaldo. And Messi’s hat-trick – his sixth of the season and 32nd for Barca in all competitions – takes him level with Ronaldo at the top of the league’s scoring charts with 30 goals from 25 starts.
Nigeria’s dominance in athletics on the African continent has again been proven as the country’s contingent to the 12th edition of the Africa Junior Athletics Championships which ended Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, finished tops in the four-day event, premium times reports. The Nigerian team, led by Ese Brume and Divine Oduduru, finished top of the medals table with 12 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze medals.