Manchester United have confirmed Radamel Falcao will return to AS Monaco following his season-long loan spell with the club. The striker joined the Reds on transfer deadline day in September, initially on a temporary basis with an option to make the move permanent. However the Colombian failed to discover the form which made him one of the most feared forwards in world football and managed just four goals in his 29 appearances for United. Louis van Gaal paid tribute to the 29-year-old’s professionalism during his time at the club. Van Gaal told United’s official website: “Falcao is a top professional and a good human being. On behalf of myself and everyone at the club I would like to wish him well for the future.” Falcao is unlikely to be the only player to depart Old Trafford this summer as Van Gaal attempts to construct a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title next season. David de Gea has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid while the futures of Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria are uncertain after both endured disappointing seasons with the club. Van Gaal, who will fly to his villa in Portugal this week after a draining year, confirmed all decisions have been made regarding transfer targets and he expects to be in constant contact with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward while he is away. “I go on holiday but I have contact with Ed Woodward every day as he is doing the negotiations,” Van Gaal said. “It shall be a heavy (busy) holiday.” “The transfer period is a process. I know which players have to go and which have to come but you never know if they go or if they come because it will depend on a lot of aspects.”
West Ham have started their search for a new manager after deciding not to renew Sam Allardyce’s contract. The club announced the news just minutes after the final whistle at St James’ Park where Allardyce’s side lost 2-0 to his former club Newcastle. A tweet from the club’s official Twitter account read: “The club have begun the search for a new manager after deciding not to renew Sam Allardyce’s contract.” Allardyce took over at Upton Park in 2011 and the Hammers made an excellent start to the current campaign, but tailed off dramatically to finish in 12th. West Ham’s joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold thanked Allardyce in a statement on the club’s website and said they already have a short-list to succeed the 60-year-old. “We would like to start by thanking Sam Allardyce for his valuable work since arriving at the Boleyn Ground four years ago,” said the statement. “He leaves the club in a considerably better state then when he arrived and, for that, the board are truly grateful. “However, we have made the decision not to renew his contract, so we now have the chance to appoint a new manager with a new philosophy to lead us into two of the most exciting years in our great club’s history. “Our target is to recruit a manager that will build a team capable of saying a fitting farewell to the Boleyn Ground next year and do justice to the outstanding surrounds we will call home from August 2016. “We have already been impressed with the quality of candidates that have expressed an interest in the role and fully expect to appoint a manager with the credentials to take this club on to new heights. “From our point of view there isn’t a more exciting job in the Premier League at present.” Allardyce said the decision reached was the best step for all concerned. “I think it’s right for both the club and myself,” he said. “My time has been a fantastic time. I’ve really enjoyed the London scene, I’ve really enjoyed managing the club and I’ve really enjoyed the success we’ve gained from the period of time we’ve been together.” He took over a relegated side in 2011 and led West Ham to promotion back to the Premier League in his last season, which he called “one of the most difficult tasks you will face”. “To move on from there and stabilise it for the big move to the new stadium is what I’ve done,” Allardyce said on Sky Sports News. “I’ve delivered everything that’s been asked of me, I’ve enjoyed doing it.”
Blessing Okagbare’s excellent start to the athletics season has earned her a recognition by the International Association of Athletics Federations as her 10.98secs dash in the 100m event of the Shanghai Diamond League is ranked fourth in the latest 2015 Top List, Vanguard reports. Okagbare, who won the Shanghai race ahead of fierce rivals, Shelley Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown, also has her 11.04secs silver-winning run at the Jamaican International Invitational meet earlier on May 9 ranked as eighth. The 26-year-old was tied on the fourth spot with Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who had run 10.98 in April. They are behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson and USA’s Jenna Prandini, who both ran 10.92secs in April, and Michelle-Lee Ahye, who ran 10.97secs in April. The Nigerians in the Top 100 of the Women’s 100m rankings are Peace Uko, whose 11.27secs at the Clermont meet on May 16, earned a 38th place along with Gabon’s Ruddy Zang Milama and Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither, and Gloria Asumnu, who is in the 83rd position after clocking 11.44secs at the Lake Charles meet in April. In the men’s 100m, Nigeria’s Ogho-Oghene Egwero, was ranked 62nd after clocking 10.20secs at a meet in Lagos in April. Ogho-oghene shared the position with five other athletes; USA’s Hanoj Carter and Joseph Morris, Great Britain’s James Ellington, Jamaica’s Tyquendo Tracey and Dominican Republic’s Youndry Acy. Okeudo Nmaju is the other Nigerian in the rankings. He is 75th alongside four other sprinters on a time of 10.23secs, which he achieved on May 9 in Zaragoza. In the 200m, no Nigerian men was to be found in the top 200 rankings but the duo of Asumnu and Ibukun Mayungbe were ranked 122 and 126 after clocking 23.39 and 23.41secs respectively at different Meets. Nigeria’s 4x100m women’s relay team are ranked 12th with their time of 42.99secs on May 3 at the World Relays in the Bahamas, while the 4x200m women’s team are ranked 1st with their winning time of 1:30.52secs at the same event. The men’s senior team were absent from both relays. In the high jumps, Doreen Amata’s 1.94m jump on Saturday in Dakar earned her the 3rd position in the ranking of top 50 jumpers, while Ese Brume was absent in the long jump rankings.
A number of Nigerian athletes put up impressive performance at the IAAF World Challenge in Dakar, Senegal on Saturday. Doreen Amata’s leap of 1.94m was her best in four years as she clinched gold at the meet. Amata’s national record stands at 1.95m but her new jump qualifies her for the World Championships holding in Beijing in August. The qualifying standard for her event is 1.94m. At the Dakar event, Nigeria’s Mark Jelks went home with a bronze medal after finishing in 20.88secs in the men’s 200m. He failed in the men’s 100m event, finishing fifth in 10.20secs behind Barbados’ Ramon Gittens (10.08), South African duo Roscoe Engel (10.12) and Henrichio Bruintjies (10.16), and Zambia’s Siame Sydney (10.18). Nigeria’s Patience George also bagged the women’s 400m gold with a season best of 52.12s ahead of USA’s Shapri Romero (56.61), while Nigeria’s Amaka Ogoegbunam was fourth in 54.06s. The Athletic Federation of Nigeria President, Solomon Ogba, is hoping to see a better performance from the athletes as the AFN prepares to organise the Warri Relays, the CAA Super Grand Prix and the AFN/CRS All-Nigeria Athletics Championships,
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has invited 14 foreign based players for the upcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Chad on June 8. This invited players will team up with the home based players already in camp.
Chelsea bade farewell to Didier Drogba before coming from behind to beat Sunderland 3-1 and lift the Premier League trophy on a day of celebration, farewells and potential goodbyes. The title was sealed with three matches to go after a defeat of Crystal Palace and there was a strange atmosphere on the day of Chelsea’s coronation as a Diego Costa penalty and two Loic Remy strikes cancelled out Steven Fletcher’s opener. Drogba announced prior to kick off the match would be his last for the Blues, while Petr Cech played in goal in potentially his final appearance after 11 years as a Chelsea player. Dick Advocaat may also be leaving Sunderland after steering them to safety at Arsenal on Wednesday night. Drogba was, bizarrely, carried off by his team-mates after 29 minutes in a pre-planned substitution. Perhaps distracted by the celebrations, Chelsea were already a goal down as Fletcher headed in Adam Johnson’s corner. The Black Cats are the only side to have beaten Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, having won here last term. This was Mourinho’s 98th home league game as Blues boss and his side responded when Costa, Drogba’s replacement, equalised from the penalty spot for his 20th Premier League goal this term. Remy, another substitute, struck twice in the final 20 minutes to ensure a 15th win from 19 home games this term. Chelsea paraded many of their 2004-05 title-winning squad prior to kick-off, although Frank Lampard was saying his farewells to England with Manchester City. That was Mourinho’s first Premier League and Chelsea’s first championship in 50 years and perhaps he was making a point to his current squad, who he said on Friday had a long way to go to become great. Another point was made by a banner in the Matthew Harding End which read: “Players come and go. Legends last forever.” Drogba is revered after an eight-year first spell which yielded 157 goals in 341 appearances and which concluded with the memorable Champions League win in Munich three years ago. His season-long second spell has been less fruitful, but he has claimed the Capital One Cup and a fourth Premier League title, Chelsea’s first in five years. Drogba captained the Blues in an emotional selection, with Eden Hazard fit to start despite requiring emergency dental surgery during the week. The Belgian dazzled once more as he, along with Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry started all 38 of Chelsea’s league games. Terry completed the Sunderland clash to become only the second outfield player to play every minute in a Premier League season and win the title, after Manchester United’s Gary Pallister in 1992-93. Sunderland were immediately under pressure as Vito Mannone punched Willian’s free-kick clear under pressure from Ivanovic and then saved as Drogba tried to divert Juan Cuadrado’s cross in. There were times when Cech – displaced by Thibaut Courtois after a decade as number one – showed his class, but whether a move to rivals Arsenal or Manchester United is permitted remains to be seen. He saved from Sebastian Larsson and Jermain Defoe before being beaten by Fletcher’s header after Johnson’s corner evaded Terry at the back post. Drogba departed, but was soon left to rue not staying on for a few more minutes as Cuadrado was felled by John O’Shea. Costa converted the penalty. Cuadrado then hobbled off with Remy on in his place, before Cech denied Defoe again. Hazard played a key role in Chelsea’s second, bursting forward before finding Remy, whose shot squirmed under Mannone. Fletcher headed wide as Sunderland sought a quick-fire reply, but it was Chelsea who scored next as Nemanja Matic’s cross was tucked in at the near post by Remy and the celebrations began in earnest.
Middlesbrough and Norwich City face each other in the Championship play-off final on Monday (today), with a Premier League place and an estimated £120m windfall on offer to the winners at Wembley. Boro have been out of the top flight since 2009, while Norwich are trying to go back up after relegation in 2014. Middlesbrough finished fourth in the Championship and beat Brentford 5-1 on aggregate to reach the play-off final but they will need to overcome history if they are to be promoted, having failed to win in four appearances at Wembley. Norwich moved one step closer to an immediate return to the Premier League by beating local rivals Ipswich 4-2 on aggregate in their semi-final, having ended the regular season in third position.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers accepted his future at the club is in doubt after Steven Gerrard’s final match ended in a humiliating defeat. The Reds said goodbye to captain Gerrard with a 6-1 thrashing at Stoke to finish sixth in the Premier League. “I’ve always said if the owners want me to go, then I go,” said Rodgers, who has won two of his last nine games. “For everybody connected with Liverpool, we are all embarrassed by that result.” It was the first time in 52 years the Reds had let in six goals in the league but Rodgers, 42, insisted he still has “a lot to offer the club”, despite winning no silverware during his three years in charge. Liverpool must also now go through two qualifying rounds if they are to compete in the group stage of next season’s Europa League. “A lot has happened this year which has made the job difficult,” added Rodgers, who guided the Reds to second place last season. “Last season, when things were working well, we had the support of everyone but performances like today do not help that and I fully understand that. “The fans deserve an apology. They were angry at half-time – and rightly so – because that was awful, absolutely awful. “They have every right to be angry and frustrated and of course I take full responsibility for that as the manager.”
Argentine defender Cristian Gomez has died after collapsing during a game for his club Atletico Parana on Sunday. The 27-year-old fell unconscious half-an-hour into the match against Boca Unidos in Argentina’s second-tier Primera B. “We tried to revive him and he died on the way to hospital,” said Miguel Darre, doctor of home side Boca Unidos. Matches in Argentina had only just resumed this weekend after the death of Emanuel Ortega on 14 May. San Martin de Burzaco defender Ortega, 21, died in hospital after failing to come out of a coma following injuries when he hit his head on a concrete wall surrounding the pitch. When Gomez collapsed, team-mates and opponents immediately took off their shirts to fan him and cried for help. “The doctors told us they couldn’t resuscitate him. This is totally unexpected, unbelievable. He’d never had anything wrong with him,” said match supervisor Ramon Gomez.