Fabiano rubbishes Al Rayyan link

18 August 2012 19:27

Luis Fabiano has denied claims made by Al Rayyan sporting director Ali Salem Afifeh that he will leave Sao Paulo for the Qatari outfit.

The club official announced that the Brazilian striker would fill in the last foreign player slot and that an agreement had been reached for a transfer.

The striker, however, has acted quickly to dismiss such notion and vowed to stay at Sao Paulo until 2014.

“Luis Fabiano would like to deny what was released on Friday, August 17, that there has been any agreement between the player and Al Rayyan of Qatar,” a statement from the Brazil Serie A club read.

“There have not been any negotiations between Al Rayyan and Sao Paulo. The striker has a contract with Sao Paulo until the end of 2014.”

The 31-year-old joined the Brazilian outfit from Sevilla in 2010 for a sum believed to be in the region of seven million euros.

Championship wrap: Watford, Leeds open with wins

18 August 2012 19:23

Matej Vydra scored a stunning winner to help Watford snatch all three Championship points with a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Palace went into half-time at Selhurst Park leading 2-1 thanks to a double from Owen Garven, which came either side of a Martin Taylor strike.

The home side looked to be heading toward an opening day victory before Almen Abdi scored from 20 yards to level the scores.

Vydra then completed the comeback with a curling shot that sent the away fans into a frenzy.

Elsewhere, Wolverhampton were unable to begin their campaign to get back into the Premier League positively after a 1-0 loss away to Leeds United.

A 19th-minute goal from Luciano Becchio was enough to get the Elland Road side over the line.

Fellow promotion hopefuls Blackburn could only manage a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town, while Blackpool comfortably defeated Millwall 2-0 away from home.

Bolton Wanderers were unable to register a point in their first Championship game since 2001 after suffering a 2-0 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor.

Sheffield Wednesday left it late in their 2-2 draw away to Derby County. Derby looked to have all three points sealed until Reda Johnson popped up in the 90th minute to salvage a point for Wednesday.

Middlesbrough lost out to Barnsley 1-0 while Charlton Athletic defeated promotion-chasing Birmingham City 1-0 at St Andrew’s.

In other results, Nottingham Forest and Hull City recorded 1-0 home wins over Bristol City and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively, while Leicester City were too good for Peterborough United in a 2-0 home win.

Canales enjoyed Real spell

18 August 2012 19:21

Valencia playmaker Sergio Canales says he had some good times at Real Madrid, despite featuring sporadically for the club.

The 21-year-old arrived at Real in 2010, but failed to make an impression as he appeared in just 10 La Liga games before moving to Valencia.

“I will always appreciate how they (Real Madrid) treated me,” Canales told Marca.

“It’s complicated because they are a team that always want to win a trophy, and that makes it very difficult for young players to be accommodated.

“In Madrid I learned a lot, especially tactically, technically and mentally. The fans treated me very well, it was not all bad.”

Canales signed for Valencia on a permanent basis this year and has expressed his delight at committing to the club.

“Since coming here I have felt the love and trust of the fans. Valencia have made a great effort to buy me, even though I have had two serious injuries,” he said.

Rodriguez unhappy with standard in Argentina

18 August 2012 19:14

Newell’s Old Boys midfielder Maxi Rodriguez has labelled football in Argentina ‘worse than 10 years ago’.

The 31-year-old returned to South America this year after spending the past decade in Europe with Espanyol, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, and is quite upset with the low standard of the domestic league.

“Aesthetics are no longer a priority,” Rodriguez Argentine daily Ole.

“Teams are becoming more defensive, and players are focused purely on fitness. I think teams are playing worse than 10 years ago.

“There is a fear of losing, because if you lose three or four games in a row, the coach is likely to be thrown out.

“This generates a lot of madness. Fans are pushing you to win all the time and managers are forced to make rash decisions.”

Newell’s sit ninth in the Argentine league after two games.

Song set for Barcelona move

18 August 2012 19:06

Arsenal and Barcelona have confirmed a deal has been agreed for the transfer of midfielder Alex Song for 19 million euros.

The Cameroon international has been a long-term target for Barca and will undergo a medical on Monday before penning a five-year deal – with a release clause set at 80 million euros.

Song established himself as a key member of Arsenal’s midfield last season and looks like being the second high-profile exit from north London in a matter of days after the transfer of striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United was confirmed on Friday.

A statement on the Barcelona website read: “FC Barcelona has agreed a deal with Arsenal FC for the transfer of Alex Song to the Camp Nou. The fee is 19 million euros.

“The Cameroon international midfielder will sign for the next five seasons with a release clause of 80 million euros

“On Monday he’ll have a medical and then join the rest of the squad for the official team presentation at the Gamper.”

The 24-year-old spent seven seasons with Arsenal after being signed as a teenager from French club SC Bastia, making 204 appearances and scoring 10 goals.

But last season alone the midfielder registered 14 assists.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger’s side kicked off their English Premier League campaign with a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland as they look to rebuild their squad for a title push.