Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new deal with the club. The 27-year-old Spaniard will make his 200th Chelsea appearance if selected at Sunderland tomorrow night as we seek a 10th successive Premier League victory. ‘I’m really happy to have signed a new contract,” he said. “Since I arrived here my target was to progress as a player and win trophies. “This new contract gives me the chance to continue my relationship with the club, that’s what I wanted and obviously I’m really happy here.
An Afghan boy who became an online hit after wearing a homemade shirt bearing Lionel Messi’s famous number 10 has met his hero. A photograph of six-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi wearing the shirt made from a striped blue plastic bag went viral in January and ended with the boy receiving a signed shirt from the Barcelona striker. But now the pair have come face to face in Doha, according to Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee.
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has pleaded guilty to drink-driving, but says he had not “intentionally consumed alcohol”. The Ivory Coast player, 33, accepts he was “above the permitted limit”, and did not challenge the charge. He was fined £54,000 – a means-tested fine – and banned from driving for 18 months by Barkingside magistrates. “It is well known that I am a Muslim and do not drink, said Toure. “I have always refused alcohol.” Toure was driving in Dagenham in east London at the time of the offence last month.
Leicester City have moved swiftly to tie up the £14 million capture of Wilfred Ndidi as Claudio Ranieri steps up his preparations for the January transfer window. Ndidi, the Genk defensive midfielder, had his medical on Monday and will become the Premier League champions’ first signing of the new year, subject to a work permit. The Nigeria international, 19, has agreed a five-year contract and the deal is expected to be announced shortly after the window officially opens.
Former Premier League footballer Sam Sodje has appeared in court alongside three brothers accused of charity fraud. The ex-Reading defender denied fraudulent trading charges relating to the Sodje Sports Foundation – a charity to raise money for Nigerian sport. Mr Sodje, 37, is jointly charged with elder brothers Efe, 44, Bright, 50 and Stephen, 42. Appearing at the Old Bailey earlier, all four denied the offence. The charge relates to offences which allegedly took place between 2008 and 2014. Sam, from Kent, Efe and Bright, of Greater Manchester, and Stephen, from Bexley, are due to stand trial in July. They were all released on bail.
Riyad Mahrez has been crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016. Fans from across the world voted for the Algeria and Leicester midfielder ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure. Winger Mahrez, 25, told BBC Sport: “It means a lot, it’s something big for African players so I am very happy, I am very proud. “It’s always good to receive awards and for African players it’s a huge honour. To all the fans, thank you very much.” He added: “Also I want to thank the Algeria fans and dedicate this to them as well and for my family. “I just have to carry on and keep going with my football and see what I can do.”
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo beat rival Lionel Messi to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for a fourth time. The 31-year-old is now one behind Barcelona’s Messi, who took the honour for a fifth time last year. Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann finished third in the vote. Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win last season’s Champions League and scored three goals as Portugal won Euro 2016. He has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016, with Messi the only other recipient of the award since winning it for the first time in 2009. “I never thought in my mind that I would win the Golden Ball four times. I am pleased. I feel so proud and happy,” said Ronaldo.