Cristiano Ronaldo needs two more goals to become the first player to score 100 times in European competition as Real Madrid come up against his former side Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League later. The Portuguese has 98 goals, with 95 of those coming in the Champions League. Defending champions Real need only point from their Group F game in Lisbon to progress to the last 16. Zinedine Zidane’s team have eight points from their four group games, two behind German side Borussia Dortmund who have already qualified for the knockout stage and play bottom side Legia Warsaw on Tuesday. As well as 95 goals in the Champions League proper, Ronaldo has found the net once in Champions League qualifying (for Manchester United against Debrecen in 2005), and twice in the 2014 Uefa Super Cup final for Real.
Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan’s loan spell at Wigan is expected to be cut short after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Bogdan, who joined the Latics in the summer and was due to stay for the full campaign, was carried off on a stretcher during the second half of the goalless draw at Barnsley on Saturday. Scans have revealed the Hungary international suffered a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament. The 29-year-old has made six appearances for the Reds, two in the Premier League, since signing on a free transfer from Bolton in the summer of 2015.
The Confederation of African Football have taken the unusual step of suspending two referees for three months after poor performances in 2018 World Cup qualifiers in November. Ghanaian Joseph Lamptey incorrectly awarded South Africa a penalty in their 2-1 win over Senegal. Kenyan referee Davies Omweno denied Libya what was a valid goal in their 1-0 defeat by Tunisia. His assistant, Berhe O’Michael of Eritrea, had wrongly flagged offside. CAF also warned the other assistant referee in the match, Rwanda’s Theogene Ndagijimana.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he is in favour of introducing video refereeing for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The head of world football’s governing body told Tuesday’s Le Parisien newspaper that he was sceptical at first about using video technology to assist referees in crucial decisions but added: “I have come to the conclusion after tests that this is not the case.” The International Football Association Board (IFAB), an independent body, approved video technology testing in March to be carried out over a two-year period. “We will multiply (the tests) over the two-year period and decide in March 2018,” said Infantino. “I hope we will have video refereeing in time for the 2018 World Cup.”
Paris St-Germain full-back Serge Aurier has been stopped from entering the United Kingdom by authorities before Wednesday’s Champions League match at Arsenal. The Ivorian, 23, was given a two-month suspended prison sentence in September for assaulting a police officer. PSG say UK authorities granted Aurier a visa in October but revoked it on 16 November, citing his conviction. The French champions said the timing of the ruling showed “a lack of respect”. Aurier is appealing his conviction, leading PSG to believe he is entitled to be presumed innocent. “Paris Saint-Germain strongly regrets that the presumption of innocence has not influenced Britain’s decision,” said the French champions in a statement.
Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have a statue erected in his honour after being named Sweden’s top player for a 10th successive year. The 36-year-old striker received his ‘Guldbollen’ – Golden Ball – award on Monday at a ceremony in Stockholm. The statue will go outside Stockholm’s Friends Arena, where Ibrahimovic scored four goals against England in 2012. Ibrahimovic said: “It’s huge for me. Most people do not get a statue until they have passed away.” The Swede has won the award every year since 2007 – and also came top in 2005 before losing out to Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg a year later.
Former Germany player and boss Jurgen Klinsmann has been sacked as coach of the United States. The 52-year-old, who won the World Cup as a player with Germany in 1990, took over as US boss in 2011. “We remain confident we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018,” said US Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “But the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction.” Klinsmann steered the United States to the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after finishing above Portugal in their group. However, they lost 2-1 at home to Mexico and 4-0 away to Costa Rica in their opening two qualifying matches for the 2018 tournament. The US are pointless and bottom of the six-country qualifying group, below the likes of Panama and Honduras, albeit only a fifth of the way through the qualifying process. “With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus,” added Gulati. “We need to determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth consecutive World Cup.”