Frank Lampard is looking forward to renewing rivalries with Steven Gerrard when the pair head to the United States to kick off their MLS careers. Lampard will join New York City at the end of his loan spell with Manchester City while Gerrard ends his career-long association with Liverpool to join the LA Galaxy. Gerrard plays his final game at Anfield on Saturday against Crystal Palace and Lampard had nothing but praise for the midfielder, who he has battled in the Premier League for over a decade and played alongside for England. “We were in the England squad, as captain and vice-captain, at the last World Cup and I certainly respect him hugely – I always have,” Lampard said. “But when you are going up against each other, you can kind of get caught up in that. I was a Chelsea man and he is Mr Liverpool. “I had John (Terry) next to me, he had Jamie Carragher – it was one of those things. It was all healthy stuff but as you get older, you mellow slightly and you just respect him for what he’s done in his career. “What a fantastic player he has been for Liverpool and England, and he’s a fantastic bloke. He’s a family man, I’ve always known him as a good lad and a great player. “I think it’s great for us that we have both made the decision to go there. We’re at the back end of our careers – we know that – but we’re still very driven and we’ll want to do well. “I’m pleased he is there. It’s great for the league, it’s great for us at this time in our lives to go and play there and I look forward to playing against him there.”
Chelsea have confirmed the signing of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nathan from Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense. The teenager has passed a medical and the Premier League champions have concluded the formalities surrounding the deal. The Blues have long been linked with Nathan, who earlier this week revealed he was set to join Chelsea after confirming the move on his Instagram page. Nathan made his first-team debut for Atletico Paranaense in May 2014 and has represented Brazil at Under-17 and Under-20 level. A statement on the club’s website said: “Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce we have agreed terms with Atletico Paranaense for the transfer of Nathan. “The 19-year-old Brazilian will join us on 1 July. Nathan, who has passed a medical and agreed personal terms, has earned a reputation as an attacking midfielder with an eye for goal and impressive pace. “Nathan, full name Nathan Allan de Souza, has represented Brazil at Under-17 and Under-20 level. He scored five goals in five games at the Under-17 World Cup in 2013.” Nathan added: “I am very happy to be joining Chelsea, the champions of England, and I hope I will be able to learn a lot and develop my game.” Nathan is the latest in a long line of Brazilian-born players to have been signed by Chelsea, with Filipe Luis, Ramires, Willian, Diego Costa, Oscar, Lucas Piazon and Wallace also on the books at Stamford Bridge.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech could be set to end his 11-year career at Chelsea after his agent said that he has been given permission to talk to other clubs. The 32-year-old, who has been at the club since 2004, has only made 16 appearances this season, with Belgian Thibaut Courtois now first choice. “Petr still has a contract that ends in a year,” said agent Viktor Kolar. “I can confirm, however, that we have been permitted by Chelsea to negotiate with interested parties.” Kolar added: “Petr has confirmed his interest to play regularly at a top club. That’s the task that we are now working on, but other than that there has not been any other change in terms of Petr Cech’s employment and the transfer period only begins on 1 July.” When asked about the agent’s comments, Chelsea stated that they do not comment on transfer speculation. Blues manager Jose Mourinho said last week that he wanted the keeper to remain at Stamford Bridge. “Without Petr this season, I don’t think the club would be champions because he played six important matches in the Premier League and without these points we probably wouldn’t be champions,” said the Portuguese. “So for me, decision number one: Petr will stay. After that, second point to go but not in England. The option I don’t want is for him to go to an English club.” The Czech Republic international has won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League title during his 11 years with the Blues.
Dnipro will play holders Sevilla in the final of the Europa League after defeating Serie A side Napoli. The Ukrainians’ striker Yevhen Seleznyov headed the only goal of the night to end Rafael Benitez’s side’s 10-game unbeaten run in the competition and seal a 2-1 aggregate win. Sevilla of La Liga completed the job against Fiorentina, winning 2-0 in Italy and 5-0 on aggregate with goals from Carlos Bacca and Daniel Carrico. The final is in Warsaw on 27 May. The winners of the final will qualify for next season’s Champions League. Sevilla are likely to start as favourites to defend their crown, having recorded the competition’s record aggregate margin of victory in a semi-final. Bacca netted his 26th goal of the season to end any faint hopes of a Viola comeback – the Colombia forward hammering the ball into the back of the net after the hosts failed to deal with Ever Banega’s free-kick from the right. Just five minutes later, the victory was sealed when Carrico tapped home. Fiorentina’s Josip Ilicic missed a penalty to complete a miserable night. It was no better for their Serie A rivals Napoli in Ukraine as goalkeeper Denys Boyko produced an inspired performance to keep the tournament’s top scorers out. Seleznyov headed home a cross from deep – his second of the tie – to earn Dnipro their first appearance in a major European final.
Mandy Islacker scored in stoppage time as FFC Frankfurt beat Paris St-Germain 2-1 and win the women’s UEFA Champions League for a record fourth time. Celia Sasic nodded Frankfurt ahead with a record-equalling 14th goal of the tournament, but Marie-Laure Delie levelled for PSG, playing in their first European final, before the break. The game looked set for extra time but Islacker curled in the late winner. It was Frankfurt’s first Champions League title since 2008. German clubs have now won nine of the 14 editions of the European competition. Frankfurt, who are managed by Englishman Colin Bell, also needed to win to qualify for next season’s tournament, having finished third in the women’s Bundesliga behind champions Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.
Four River Plate players have been taken to hospital after being sprayed with an irritant by Boca Juniors fans in an abandoned Copa Libertadores tie. The last-16 second leg in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was called off at 0-0 after the players were attacked as they came out of the tunnel after half-time. River manager Marcelo Gallardo described the scenes at Boca’s La Bombonera stadium as “deplorable”. Boca president Daniel Angelici said: “We will do all we can to help police.” Fans managed to get through high wire fencing and on to the pitch. Television pictures showed River players Leonardo Ponzio and Leonel Vangioni rubbing their eyes, with other players pouring water over their faces after apparently being sprayed with a pepper spray-like substance. “I can’t see, I can’t see. I am burning. This is not a war,” said River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori during chaotic scenes as the match was halted. All three players, along with team-mate Matias Kranevitter, were taken to hospital for treatment for what Argentine radio described as burns. Angelici said his club would “accept responsibility” for the incident but added Boca’s players should not be punished for what he said was “society’s problem, not football’s problem”. “These people are sick,” he added. “An aerosol is small, it is very powerful. It can fit in your pocket and when there are almost 50,000 people it can get by security.” South American football’s governing body Conmebol said its disciplinary committee would meet on Friday and decide whether to replay the match, complete it at a neutral venue, or award the tie to River, who were 1-0 up from the first leg on 7 May.
Former Central African Republic coach, Raoul Savoy, was unveiled to local media in Banjul on Thursday as The Gambia’s new national team coach. The 41 year old’s immediate task will be to take charge of the Scorpions’ matches in their forthcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign. The Swiss coach has extensive experience of working in Africa. He previously managed both Ethiopia and Swaziland. He also had stints in club football in Morocco, Cameroon and Algeria. He also coached in his native Switzerland. Savoy takes up The Gambia’s senior national team’s coaching role which was left vacant after Peter Bonu Johnson’s appointment was terminated. Speaking to the country’s media, Savoy said it was an honour to take up his new role as The Gambia’s new coach. “It’s a big duty for me, and I can assure you I will do my best for the Gambian people who love their football so much.” The Gambia are back participating in the Nations Cup qualifiers having served a ban, after the Confederation of African Football found them guilty of age-cheating at junior national team level. Savoy said he was impressed with the strides the Gambian Football Federation have taken to move forward, and said he hopes to build on their work. “They’ve already done a very good job, so now I’m coming in to continue this job and reach their objectives.” The Gambia have been drawn in Group M of the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers along with South Africa, Cameroon and Mauritania. Savoy’s first competitive game in charge will be a trip away to South Africa in June in their first Nations Cup qualifier, with Middlesbrough’s Mustapha Carayol and Swansea City’s Modou Barrow expected to lead a new look Scorpions side. Both have been named in a 21-man-squad which includes veteran goalkeeper Pa Dembo Touray of Santo FC in South Africa. The scorpions will start assembling in Banjul on 1 June, and will then travel to Uganda for a training camp. During their time in Kampala they are scheduled to play the Cranes in a friendly international.