Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola says he will still be at the club next season, despite reported interest from Manchester City. Guardiola was asked about his future at the pre-match news conference for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona. “I’ve already said 200 million times – I’ll be here next season. That’s it,” the ex-Barca boss, 44, said. “I have a year left on my contract. Next season I will be here.” City boss Manuel Pellegrini could be under pressure after his side lost their Premier League title to Chelsea this season. Newspaper reports on Sunday morning claimed that Guardiola, who is in his second season in charge at Bayern, had reached a verbal agreement to manage them next term. He has won a domestic league title in five of his six seasons as a manager, three with Barcelona and two with Bayern. This is also his fifth season managing in the Champions League semi-finals. However Bayern face a big task to reach the final, having lost 3-0 in the first leg of their tie with Barca. Guardiola said: “Barcelona are strong on the break. If we let something slip, they’ll punish us. “We have to defend well. We can’t go on the all-out attack. We have to control the game. “We’re Bayern – before a game I’ve never said that we have no chance. Of course we do.”
Lower-league footballer Tim Nicot has become the second Belgian player to die of cardiac arrest in the past two weeks. The 23-year-old left-back for fourth-tier Wilrijk-Beerschot was playing in a tournament in Hemiksem when he collapsed on Friday. He was placed in an induced coma and his club confirmed his death on Monday. In late April, Lokeren defender Gregory Mertens, 24, died after collapsing during a reserve game. A club statement said Nicot “fought like a bear” and was the “idol of our supporters”. It described him as “always in a good mood, always making time for an umpteenth selfie with a fan”. Three years ago Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba, then 23, suffered a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup game with Tottenham. He was “in effect dead” for 78 minutes but survived, although he never played again. Nicot’s team-mate Wesley Snoeys said: “So many questions. Always the same question comes up: why why why? You left us far too soon. I will never forget you. Forever in my heart.” Jef Snyders, another Wilrijk-Beerschot player, added: “Football will never be the same anymore. Rest in peace mate.”
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard played down the significance of a standing ovation given to him by Chelsea fans. The midfielder scored in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. “I was more happy with the ovation from the Liverpool fans,” said Gerrard. “Chelsea fans have had respect for a couple of seconds today but have slaughtered me all game. “I’m not going to get drawn into wishing Chelsea fans well. It was nice of them to turn up for once today.” Speaking to BBC Sport, Gerrard added: “It was a nice touch. I know they’ve absolutely murdered me for years because I never signed here. I’ve had great support from the Liverpool fans – that’s all that matters to me.” Gerrard, 34, has been the focus of chants from Blues fans for a number of years. Chelsea tried to sign the former England captain on three different occasions, while last season Gerrard famously slipped to allow Chelsea to score and put Manchester City on course for the Premier League title at the expense of Liverpool. When asked about current Blues boss Jose Mourinho, Gerrard said: “I have huge respect for him. He’s the best manager in the world. I would have signed for him on three occasions if I wasn’t such a big Liverpool fan. “He’s the reason my head was turned on a couple of occasions but he knew why I couldn’t do it, because I love Liverpool Football Club. It always means more when you win for your people.” Mourinho reciprocated the respect for Gerrard, saying the midfielder has been a “special” player as he prepares to exit the Premier League for Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy in the United States. “I’m so happy with the ovation,” said Mourinho. “The negative song Chelsea fans sing for him is respect for an old, dear enemy that fought so much against us in every competition. “After that, the standing applause is amazing. To get it at Anfield, he gets it week-in week-out, year after year, but away from home it shows a lot. “Moments like that and when Crystal Palace come here and fight and win, Burnley fight like lions, us losing at home to a League One team in Bradford, moments like that make this country special.”
Queens Park Rangers were relegated from the Premier League after being crushed 6-0 at Manchester City on Sunday. QPR are bottom of the table with 27 points from 36 games, nine adrift of 17th-placed Newcastle United with two matches left. Burnley were relegated to the Championship on Saturday despite their 1 -0 victory away to Hull.
Schalke have cancelled the contracts of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam ‘with immediate effect’ as a ‘consequence’ of their surprise defeat by Cologne in the Bundesliga on Sunday. The Royal Blues were beaten 2-0 at the RheinEnergieStadion to leave their hopes of qualifying for Europe hanging by a thread, and general manager Horst Heldt had promised action would be taken. Boateng and Sam have both been released from the club while Marco Hoger is suspended from training or playing with the first-team squad until after Saturday’s game against Paderborn.