Premier League-bound Watford have signed Austria international defender Sebastian Prodl on a five-year-deal. The 27-year-old, who has 49 caps, was a free agent following his release by German Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, with whom he spent seven years and played in the Champions League. The 6ft 4in centre-back also played for Sturm Graz in his native country between 2006 and 2008. He is the Hornets’ first signing since promotion to the top flight. Prodl moves to Vicarage Road amid continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of head coach Slavisa Jokanovic, with Quique Sanchez Flores reportedly close to agreeing to replace the Serb.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova is out of the French Open. Russia’s Sharapova, who has reached the final in the previous three years, was beaten 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 by Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova in the fourth round. It is second seed Sharapova’s earliest defeat at Roland Garros since 2010. “I felt I had small openings but I wasn’t able to play a few good points and Lucie was a much more aggressive player,” said Sharapova. “My opponent was at a much higher level, more consistent than I was, and that resulted in a bad day at the office.” Safarova, 28, will take on Garbine Muguruza in the last eight, after the Spaniard beat Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-4. “Maria is an amazing player. I needed to play aggressive and to come forward for the points,” said Safarova.
Jurgen Klopp says he will take a break from football after stepping down as Borussia Dortmund manager. The 47-year-old had been linked with a move to Liverpool since announcing he would leave at the end of the season. “After seven intense and emotional years, I think it’s a good idea to let the numerous memories settle in before I take on a new challenge with my team refreshed and motivated,” said Klopp. “I’m going to take a break until further notice,” he added. The German had previously stated he did not intend to take a sabbatical. When announcing he was to step down in April he said: “It’s not that I’m tired. I always said that when I believe I am not the perfect coach anymore for this extraordinary club I will say so.” Klopp won two Bundesliga titles and one German Cup in the seven years following his appointment as Dortmund manager in 2008, also reaching the Champions League final in 2013 where his side were beaten by Bayern Munich. Former Mainz manager Thomas Tuchel is to take over from Klopp at Dortmund, who recovered from being bottom of the German league in February to finish seventh and qualify for the Europa League.
Footballers can enjoy during off season ehh! I don’t blame them because it’s a very serious business during the season. Manchester United defender, Chris Smalling posted the above picture on Instagram from his holiday in Barbados.
Former Brazil striker Pele has welcomed the re-election of Blatter as Fifa president. “I was in favour. It was necessary because it is better to have people with experience,” Pele told reporters on his arrival in Cuba on Sunday to see a charity match in Havana. “He’s a man who has been there for 25 years [with Fifa], you have to respect him, it was an election.”
Midfield lynchpin Yaya Toure has cooled speculation surrounding his future at Manchester City, the Ivorian saying he will “definitely stay” because he wants to win more silverware at the Premier League club. The 32-year-old Toure, who joined City in 2010 and played a dominant role in two Premier League title wins in 2012 and 2014, endured a frustrating season after suffering a loss of form as City failed to claim any trophies. “I will definitely stay. The fans don’t have to be worried,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “My target this year is to try to do everything possible to make this team improve well.”
So I woke up by 2am to see the Nigeria vs Brazil game. With the moves I saw, I believe the Flying Eagles could play better but they appeared jittery. Brazil didn’t have it easy either. Our goalkeeper was suspect. I was complaining until he made that howler that led to the fourth goal. Our attack seems okay considering the runs they made but the coaches should do more work on the defence particularly and then the midfield. We loose the ball a lot. Go guys! I think you can still make it out of the group.
South Africa did pay $10m (£6.5m) to a football body led by Jack Warner, a figure at the centre of FIFA corruption allegations, local media say. Danny Jordaan, head of South Africa’s FA, is quoted as confirming that the amount was deducted from a FIFA payment to the country in 2008. A subsequent letter requested that money to be sent, instead, to the Caribbean Football Union, reports say. South African officials deny it was a bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup. But US prosecutors insist South Africa made an illegal payment after the government promised $10m to Mr Warner – then a FIFA vice-president – in exchange for the “Rainbow Nation” becoming the first African country to host the World Cup. FIFA chose South Africa as host ahead of Morocco.