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  • Azpilicueta pens five-year Chelsea deal

    Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. "Chelsea Football Club is pleased to announce Cesar Azpilicueta has today signed a new five-year contract," the current Premier League leaders said on their website. Azpilicueta, 25, joined Chelsea from Marseille in August 2012 and broke into the first team at left-back last season, despite having scant experience in the position. His displays saw him win Chelsea's Players' Player of the Year award and he has now committed himself to Stamford Bridge until 2019.

    AFP
  • Transfer market inflation hits 16%, study shows

    Europe's top clubs are paying 16% more for players than five years ago as football inflation drives rises, a study showed on Wednesday. In a report on the summer transfer window, the Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory said Manchester United and Paris St Germain had paid tens of millions of euros above market rates for top purchases Angel di Maria and David Luiz. "Our new data analysis has revealed that overall, clubs paid on average 16% more than they invested in the five previous years for players with similar characteristics," CIES said. "This confirms the ongoing inflation trend of the transfer market at the top end of the football pyramid," it said.

    AFP
  • Soccer-Azpilicueta signs new five-year deal at Chelsea

    (Adds details) LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Chelsea full back Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new five-year contract at Chelsea, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The Spain international, who arrived at the London club in 2012 as a right back, has been a regular at left back, preferred by manager Jose Mourinho to former England international Ashley Cole, who has moved to AS Roma. Azpilicueta has made 95 appearances for Chelsea, scoring a single goal, and was a member of the side that won the Europa League trophy in 2013. He has started all three of Chelsea's Premier League matches this season.

    Reuters
  • Schweinsteiger named Germany captain

    Düsseldorf (Germany) (AFP) - Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was on Tuesday named the new captain of world champions Germany by manager Joachim Loew. Loew turned to the 30-year-old to succeed Philipp Lahm, who stepped down from international duty after skippering Germany to the World Cup in July. Schweinsteiger is currently injured with a knee problem, leaving goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to lead Germany out on Wednesday in an international friendly in Duesseldorf against Argentina in a rematch 50 days after they met in the World Cup final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

    AFP
  • Soccer-Azpilicueta signs for five more years at Chelsea

    Chelsea full back Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a five-year extension to his contract at Chelsea, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The Spain international, who arrived at the London club in 2012 as a right back, has been a regular at left back, preferred by manager Jose Mourinho to former England international Ashley Cole, who has moved to AS Roma. Azpilicueta has made 95 appearances for Chelsea, scoring a single goal, and was a member of the side that won the Europa League trophy in 2013. He has started all three of Chelsea's Premier League matches this season.

    Reuters
  • Lacazette, Gourcuff agree new Lyon deals

    France striker Alexandre Lacazette has agreed a new two-year contract with Lyon, the club's president Jean-Michel Aulas announced on Tuesday. The striker has already scored three league goals this season and could add to his two caps for France after being called up for Thursday's friendly with Spain and Sunday's game against Serbia. Meanwhile, talented but injury-prone playmaker Yoann Gourcuff has agreed to a pay cut although not to an extension to his existing deal, which expires next summer.

    AFP
  • Uncapped Colback out of England friendly

    New England call-up Jack Colback will miss Wednesday's friendly game against Norway due to injury, manager Roy Hodgson revealed on Tuesday. The 24-year-old Newcastle United midfielder was awarded his first call-up for England's first game since the World Cup, but Hodgson revealed that he would not be fit enough to face Per-Mathias Hogmo's side. Jack Colback is out of the game tomorrow," Hodgson told a press conference in Watford, 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of London.

    AFP
  • Soccer-Aston Villa sign Cleverley on loan in late deal

    Aston Villa have signed Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley on a season-long loan after squeezing through a deal after the close of the transfer window, the Premier League club said on Tuesday. Agreement was reached for the 25-year-old, who has played 13 times for England, late on transfer deadline day on Monday but the move hung in the balance as Villa were made to wait for the league's approval after the close of the window. Cleverley, who came through United's academy system and has made 79 appearances for the 20-times English champions, made the move away from Old Trafford after finding playing opportunities limited under new manager Louis Van Gaal. His departure follows the high-profile deadline-day exits of Javier Hernandez, who joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan, and Danny Welbeck, who signed for Arsenal in a deal reported to be worth 16 million pounds ($26.4 million).

    Reuters
  • Beckham 'sad' over Welbeck's Man Utd exit

    Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham told the BBC on Tuesday that he was "sad" to see home-grown striker Danny Welbeck leave the club for their Premier League rivals Arsenal. Welbeck, 23, was allowed to join Arsenal in a deal reportedly worth £16 million ($26.6 million, 20.2 million euros) on Monday after United agreed to sign Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan from Monaco. "He (Welbeck) has been there since he was eight.

    AFP
  • Man United move 'a dream', says Falcao

    Colombian striker Radamel Falcao said that he had fulfilled "a dream" after completing a loan move to Manchester United from Monaco in the early hours of Tuesday morning. "I always wanted to be here because this league is very good, it has very good teams, and Manchester United is the best team in England. The 28-year-old centre-forward flew in to Manchester to undergo a medical examination late on Monday, with United confirming the deal had gone through some two-and-a-half hours after the transfer deadline had passed. United are thought to have paid Monaco around 10 million euros ($13.1 million) to secure Falcao's services for the season, with an option to make the deal permanent for another 55 million euros.

    AFP
  • Ivory Coast qualifier against Sierra Leone to go ahead

    Ivory Coast will host their African Nations Cup qualifier against Ebola-affected Sierra Leone this weekend following a special meeting of the country’s national security council. The decision, announced in a government statement published in local media on Tuesday, comes one week after the government said it would not allow the match to go ahead, citing concerns over a possible Ebola outbreak. As of Aug. 29, the World Health Organization had confirmed 935 cases of the deadly virus in Sierra Leone including 380 deaths. In response to the spiraling health crisis in West Africa, Ivory Coast last month banned air travelers and all incoming flights from Sierra Leone as well as its affected neighbours Liberia and Guinea.

    Reuters
  • Soccer-Premier League the biggest winner as talent pours in

    By Ossian Shine LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - For Manchester United, the answer to a slump in form or a crisis of confidence comes in 50 pound notes. The giants of Old Trafford haemorrhaged almost 150 million pounds ($247.9 million) in the last few weeks, dressing the likes of Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Falcao in red shirts. The huge spending has given new Dutch manager Louis van Gaal an embarrassment of riches with which to fix his team's on-pitch struggles, even though critics suggest the money could have been spent a little more wisely. Liverpool, too, leaned heavily on their history and spending power to lure one of the biggest names in soccer to Anfield, snapping up Mario Balotteli from AC Milan for what is these days a paltry 16 million pounds.

    Reuters
  • Tasty icing, cherry on top but will United cake crumble?

    By Ed Osmond LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United emerged from the transfer window with a rich icing and the brightest of cherries to decorate their cake but the suspicion remains that the team's base may crumble under pressure. Colombia striker Radamel Falcao has the pedigree to light up Old Trafford and Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria the class to fill the club's iconic number seven shirt with distinction. The high-profile signings are consistent with United's history of playing attacking football and proof that despite the club's lack of European football this season they can still attract the world's top players. Swapping Falcao for Javier Hernandez and Di Maria for Shinji Kagawa is indisputably a significant upgrade.

    Reuters
  • Midfielder Schweinsteiger named Germany captain

    Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was named captain of the national team on Tuesday, succeeding Bayern Munich team mate Philipp Lahm, who retired from international football following their World Cup victory in Brazil in July. The 30-year-old Schweinsteiger, who has won 108 caps and scored 23 goals for Germany, will not lead the team in Wednesday's friendly rematch of the final against Argentina due to injury.

    Reuters
  • Soccer-Midfielder Schweinsteiger named Germany captain

    * Schweinsteiger is the most experienced player in the squad * Schneider becomes Germany assistant coach * Midfielder Rudy called up (Adds details, quotes, background) BERLIN, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was named captain of the national team on Tuesday, succeeding Bayern Munich team mate Philipp Lahm, who retired from international football following their World Cup victory in Brazil in July. The 30-year-old Schweinsteiger, who has won 108 caps and scored 23 goals for Germany, will not lead the team in Wednesday's friendly rematch of the final against Argentina due to injury.

    Reuters
  • Ivory Coast approves match against Sierra Leone amid Ebola fears

    The Ivory Coast government on Tuesday relented and agreed to let the national football team play an Africa Cup of Nations match against Sierra Leone that it had banned because of Ebola virus fears. Ivory Coast had been warned they could be excluded from the Nations Cup finals if they refused to play Sierra Leone, one of the countries worst hit by the incurable disease which has killed more than 1,500 people this year. The Ivory Coast Football Federation said that most of the players, including Yaya Toure of Manchester City, Salomon Kalou of Hertha Berlin and Gervinho of AS Roma had arrived in Abidjan on Monday to prepare for Sunday's game.

    AFP
  • Everton in last minute loan deal for Henen

    Everton struck a last minute transfer deadline deal with the loan signing of Belgian 18-year-old David Henen. The youth international, who had been training with the Premier League side, was sold on Monday by his parent club Anderlecht to Greek side Olympiakos on Monday. Everton however arranged to bring the teenager back to England for a season-long loan, although the paperwork was not completed until very late in the day. The club confirmed on Tuesday the deal has now been ratified by the Premier League and Henen will link up with Everton's Under-21 side after playing for Belgium's Under-19s in Serbia during the international break.

    AFP
  • Watford appoint Oscar Garcia as new boss

    London (AFP) - Watford on Tuesday appointed Oscar Garcia as their new head coach, the former Brighton boss succeeding Beppe Sannino who resigned at the weekend.

    AFP
  • Soccer-Tasty icing, cherry on top but will United cake crumble?

    By Ed Osmond LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Manchester United emerged from the transfer window with a rich icing and the brightest of cherries to decorate their cake but the suspicion remains that the team's base may crumble under pressure. Colombia striker Radamel Falcao has the pedigree to light up Old Trafford and Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria the class to fill the club's iconic number seven shirt with distinction. The high-profile signings are consistent with United's history of playing attacking football and proof that despite the club's lack of European football this season they can still attract the world's top players. Swapping Falcao for Javier Hernandez and Di Maria for Shinji Kagawa is indisputably a significant upgrade.

    Reuters
  • European football giants spend $3 bn on busy transfer deadline day

    The English Premier League dominated as Europe's top clubs spent more than $3 billion on new players in the two month transfer market that ended with a frantic burst of deals, according to a study released Tuesday. The 20 Premier League clubs spent about £835 million ($1.38 billion, €1 billion) on players, with Manchester United accounting for about £150 million of that, according to business consultants Deloitte. The Premier League total smashed last year's record transfer dealings worth £630 million. Colombian striker Radamel Falcao joined United while England striker Danny Welbeck left for Arsenal in the final deals announced late Monday.

    AFP