Former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes will discuss personal terms and undergo a medical with Premier League new boys Middlesbrough on Thursday. The 34-year-old left Old Trafford after falling out with former manager Louis van Gaal, who said last summer Valdes had refused to play in an Under-21 game.
West Brom have signed Matt Phillips from Championship side QPR on a four-year deal reported to be worth £5.5m. Midfielder Phillips, 25, spent three seasons with QPR, playing 94 times and scoring 14 goals. The Scotland international helped the R’s to promotion in 2013-14 and made 25 Premier League appearances in 2014-15. He is Albion’s first summer signing after the club released forward Victor Anichebe, midfielder Stephane Sessegnon and goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard. Phillips has made four appearances for Scotland, having previously represented England at youth level.
Swansea City have completed the signing of central defender Mike van der Hoorn from Ajax on a three-year contract. The 23-year-old started his career at FC Utrecht before moving to Eredivisie rivals Ajax in July 2013. He was called up to the Netherlands senior squad in 2013, having played for his country at Under-21 level. Van der Hoorn is Swansea’s second signing of the summer after fellow Dutchman Leroy Fer joined from QPR in a permanent deal.
Russia have named a 68-strong athletics team for the Rio Olympics despite being banned from international competition. Athletics’ governing body – the IAAF – first imposed the ban in November following allegations of widespread state-sponsored doping in the country. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and its athletes last week appealed against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A final decision is due by 21 July.
Lazio have appointed former Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa as manager. The 60-year-old Argentine, whose most recent managerial position was in France with Marseille, will start work on 9 July. Lazio finished eighth in Serie A last season, but had been without a permanent manager since Stefano Pioli was sacked in April. Bielsa led Argentina to an Olympic gold medal in 2004, before guiding Chile to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He took Athletic Bilbao to the 2012 Europa League and Copa del Rey finals, but had been without a club since leaving Marseille in August 2015.
Manchester United have signed Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from German club Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old joins United for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal, with the option of a further year. The Armenia captain was the 2015-16 Bundesliga player of the season and scored 23 goals in all competitions. “Henrikh is a real team player with great skill, vision and also has a good eye for goal,” manager Jose Mourinho told United’s official website. “I am delighted he has chosen to sign for United. “I believe he will make an impact on the team very quickly as his style of play is suited to the Premier League. “We are all looking forward to working with him.” Mkhitaryan said he is “very proud” to sign for Manchester United, adding: “This move is a dream come true for me. “I am excited to play for a club with such an illustrious history and hope to be part of it for a long time. “I thank the trust the club and Jose Mourinho have put in me. “Finally, I believe playing for such a great club honours my father’s memory, and the inspiration and drive he gave to me when I was young.” Mkhitaryan made 140 appearances and scored 41 goals for Dortmund after joining them for £23.5m in 2013. He is the son of one of Armenia’s most famous footballers, Hamlet Mkhitaryan, and won the first of his 59 caps for his country a week before his 18th birthday.
Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah is set to join Chinese first division club Liaoning FC from Werder Bremen. The German Bundesliga side said on its website that the clubs have agreed a fee for the 25-year-old, who is expected to have a medical imminently. Ujah joined Bremen from Cologne in May 2015 and scored 14 goals in 35 games. The forward, who has six Nigeria caps, courted controversy at Cologne when he pulled the horns of the club’s goat mascot after scoring a goal.
South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. It comes after his initial five-year conviction for manslaughter was changed to murder last December on appeal. He was taken immediately to jail. Both the prosecution and defence can appeal, but his lawyers say they will not. Pistorius, 29, shot Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door in February 2013. He admitted shooting her, but said he had mistaken Ms Steenkamp for an intruder and acted out of fear. In an hour-long session, Judge Thokozile Masipa said mitigating circumstances, such as rehabilitation and remorse, outweighed aggravating factors for deviating from the prescribed 15-year sentence.
Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a statement from the court said on Wednesday. The court also sentenced the Argentine soccer player’s father, Jorge, to 21 months in prison for the same three crimes. The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, the statement said. However, under Spanish law a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation, meaning Messi and his father are unlikely to go to jail.The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around 2 million euros and his father to pay 1.5 million euros for the crimes.
Gerardo Martino has resigned as head coach of Argentina. The 53-year-old departs just days after Argentina lost on penalties to Chile in the Copa America final. In a statement Martino indicated he quit because of a “lack of decisions” at the head of the Argentine FA (AFA) and “serious problems” in selecting a squad for the Olympics. The Argentine managed his country from August 2014, after previously coaching Barcelona. Last month’s Copa America defeat was the second time Argentina finished runner-up to Chile in the competition during Martino’s reign. Star player Lionel Messi – who missed a penalty in the final shootout – retired following the match, saying it “hurt not to be a champion”. A host of other leading Argentina players are reportedly close to quitting the national team, although there has been no confirmation of further retirements. Martino has also struggled to choose an 18-man squad for the Olympic football tournament in Rio, which starts on 3 August – two days before the Games formally commence.
Five-time champion Venus Williams reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time since 2009 with victory over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova. Eighth seed Williams – at 36 the oldest Grand Slam semi-finalist for 22 years – beat unseeded Shvedova 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. An all-Williams final remains possible after top seed Serena beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-4. In Thursday’s semis, Serena will play Russia’s Elena Vesnina and Venus will take on Germany’s Angelique Kerber. “We don’t really talk too much about it but we are playing doubles later, so we are just happy to be in the semi-finals,” Serena said. Asked about a potential final meeting, she added: “It will be great. Venus is such a tough opponent I want her to win so bad – not in the final if I am there, but if I’m not, I do.” Kerber, the fourth seed, beat Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep 7-5 7-6 (7-2) in the opening match on Centre Court. Unseeded Russian Vesnina thrashed Slovakian 19th seed Cibulkova 6-2 6-2 in the remaining quarter-final on court one.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he has sold the soccer club AC Milan to a Chinese consortium. Berlusconi, who owns the Serie A team, made the remarks to local newspapers on Tuesday. He said they will be paying at least €400m over the next two years, which may value the club at up to €750m including debt. “Milan has now embarked on this path towards China,” he said without disclosing the identity of the buyers. However other media outlets, citing their own sources, said the terms of the deal are still being finalised. Berlusconi, 79, has served as prime minister four times but was convicted of tax fraud and bribery. His family holding company Fininvest reportedly entered into exclusive talks with the Chinese investor group in May. The consortium is looking to buy 80% of the club immediately before eventually taking over the remainder. The deal could even result in the soccer club being listed in China, according to Reuters news agency.