Albiol extends Real contract

7 August 2012 01:48

Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol has ended speculation regarding his future by penning a two-year contract extension with the club.

Albiol is now contract to the Santiago Bernabeu club until the end of the 2016/17 season.

Spanish international Albiol had two years remaining on his contract with the Liga champions, but after a frustrating season in which he only made a handful of league appearances, the defender had been linked with a move away from the club.

Albiol has made 63 appearances for Real during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and won his first domestic title under Jose Mourinho last season.

The 26-year-old moved from Valencia for a fee in the region of 15 million euros in June 2009 and became a regular at the heart of the Real defence, largely due to the absence of Pepe in 2009/10.

But he made just 10 appearances in the league last season, as he played back-up to the regular centre-back pairing of Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe.

But with Carvalho linked with a move away from the Bernabeu, and with Sergio Ramos tipped to return to right-back, he could find himself back in contention for a first-team berth.

There had been rumours linking Albiol with clubs around Europe, including Liverpool, but he has ended any speculation about his future by extending his contract with the nine-time European Cup winners.

Huntelaar yet to commit to Schalke

7 August 2012 01:09

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt says the future of striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar remains uncertain as contract negotiations falter.

Netherlands international Huntelaar opted to put contract discussions on hold until after Euro 2012, but with the new Bundesliga due to begin later this month, he is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal.

Heldt, speaking to Sky Sports News Germany, said he hopes to resolve the issue within the coming weeks.

“Klaas-Jan knows what he has here at Schalke and we know about his quality,” he said.

“His decision depends on his sporting future. We had a talk last weekend and we will have another talk in the next few days and make a decision.’

“We can prepare well for the future and we know what we want to achieve in the future.

“Klaas-Jan is a footballer on a high level, but we also have different options.”

The 28-year-old joined Schalke from Italian giants AC Milan in August 2010 and struck 29 league goals last season, ending the campaign as the Bundesliga’s top marksman.

Inter withdraw from Moura race

7 August 2012 00:36

Inter Milan are no longer interested in Lucas Moura from Sao Paulo, after reports Paris Saint-Germain lodged a bid of 45 million euros.

The 19-year-old’s protracted move to Europe from Brazil has been one of the most prominent transfer sagas of the off season, with Manchester United and Inter both appearing favourites to secure his signature in recent weeks.

However, the Milan-based club have now withdrawn their interest in the youngster, amid rumours of a big-money swoop from PSG.

“We would never have gone up to that sum,” Inter president Massimo Moratti told Sky Sport Italia.

“In any case, there are no regrets that we didn’t finish off the move, as the cost was already pretty high a few days ago.

“The 45 million euro that PSG offered is completely illogical and for us it would’ve been very out of key with our approach.

“PSG are starting a new era, so they are completely reconstructing the squad.

Moratti then joked: “At least I can relish the fact I’m saving money.”

Bayern´s Gomez out for Bundesliga opener

7 August 2012 00:29

Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez will miss the start of the Bundesliga season after suffering an ankle injury on Saturday.

Striker Gomez aggravated an old knock shortly before half-time in Bayern’s LIGA Total Cup match against Werder Bremen, and it emerged after the game he would need surgery to repair the damage.

The 27-year-old Germany international is now certain to miss the start of the Bundesliga season, with the recovery time for the operation estimated to be between four and six weeks.

“He faces four to six weeks of rest, of which three of those he will be on crutches for. The damaged cartilage must be smoothed,” sports doctor Bernd Kabelka told Bild.

Gomez will join David Alaba (stress fracture, foot), Rafinha (torn knee ligament) and Diego Contento (fractured foot) on the sidelines for Bayern, although the club were handed a boost with the news Bastian Schweinsteiger’s ligament strain is not as serious as first feared.

“He (Schweinsteiger) will need to rehabilitate for two days but then he will be able to exercise again,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said.

Bayern kick-off their 2012/13 Bundesliga campaign away to promoted Greuther Furth on August 25, and face arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund in the DFL Supercup on August 12.

Usmanov continues Gunners attack

7 August 2012 00:19

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has launched another angry attack on the club’s board as their seven-year trophy-less run continues.

Usmanov owns 30 percent of the north London club and remains the second largest shareholder after Stan Kroenke, but does not have a seat on the board of directors.

After previously issuing an open letter in which he expressed his concern with regards to the running of the club and its ambition, he has again called for changes to be made.

“Our point of view on which direction the club is going today, and our disagreement with this direction, have been laid out in our open letter to the board,” Usmanov told Forbes Magazine Russia.

“We do not consider just qualifying for the Champions League to be the chief ambition of the club, and with all our hearts we support the team and wish them well for the new season.

“Victory is absolutely not ruled out, but the current politics of the club’s management will leave Arsene Wenger and his team with fewer and fewer opportunities in the long run.”

Usmanov, who acquired David Dein’s 14.6-percent share in the club in 2007, said it was never his intention to become involved in a heated rivalry with existing shareholders.

“Arsenal were one of the first teams I saw on television, and at that time I started supporting them,” he said.

“I was introduced to David Dein by a mutual friend. At that time I was looking at a number of possibilities to invest in Premier League clubs, but the chance to buy a small shareholding in Arsenal outranked all other considerations.

“When I bought shares off David Dein I was happy with the opportunity to get to know the footballing legend which Arsenal represent. I was absolutely satisfied with this purchase and wanted to buy more shares in the club.

“At that time I never imagined the depth of conflict between the shareholders.

“I was also disappointed, and very much regretted, that Danny Fiszman, who at that time ran Arsenal, dealt with me on the basis of totally unobjective opinions and assertions of a few individuals.”

The 58-year-old insisted, despite being unhappy with the club’s position, he is not prepared to sell his own shares.

“We plan to continue to buy shares in the club,” Usmanov said.

“From the point of view of investment, this has already been a successful policy: the value of the club has rise from 300-400 million pounds to 700-800 million pounds.

“But this is not the point. I am a fan and I am not going to sell these shares at any time, since this is the club that I consider the best in the world.”