Bellamy signs with Cardiff

10 August 2012 16:38

Cardiff City have signed Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy on a two-year deal.

The 33-year-old Wales international, who spent the 2010-11 campaign on loan with the Bluebirds, completed a medical in South Wales on Thursday.

Bellamy was born in Cardiff and has dropped down to the second tier of English football to return to his hometown club, where he will wear the number 39 shirt.

He made 33 appearances in all competitions for the Reds last season, scoring nine goals, and will join up with his new team-mates ahead of their opening game of the season against Huddersfield Town.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to a number of key parties that have facilitated Craig’s return,” Cardiff chief executive Alan Whiteley told the club’s official website.

“Firstly to the club’s Malaysian investors, Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Dato’ Chan Tien Ghee; their support, commitment and confidence in the vision and ambition of the club has enabled us to attract and retain a squad containing the calibre of players that we now have. This, quite clearly, is demonstrated by Craig’s confidence in joining us at this time.

“I would also like to thank our manager for his tenacity and single mindedness in ensuring the transfer could take place – and for making my life a misery until such time as it could be completed!

“And of course to Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool Football Club; their assistance and support during the process of negotiations have been conducted in an extremely professional and amicable manner, of which we are grateful.

“Finally to Craig, for having the confidence and courage to buy into and wanting to be a part of the club’s future.

“I am sure that Liverpool will agree that their loss is this football club’s gain and that Craig’s return will be met with huge excitement and enthusiasm by all Cardiff City fans – and as the perfect backdrop to the start of the new season.”

CSL: Guizhou Renhe 0 Changchun Yatai 0

10 August 2012 16:09

Guizhou Renhe could not break through at home against Changchun Yatai in a 0-0 draw in the CSL on Friday.

Renhe could not reproduce the form that saw them defeat top side Guangzhou Evergrande last start and were held by Changchun’s steely defence.

The hosts went into the clash at the Guiyang Olympic Sports Center in third and remain there on 34 points – six behind Evergrande and five behind second-placed Jiangsu Sainty.

Changchun, meanwhile, move up to fifth on 30 points ahead of Guangzhou R&F.

Changchun play Evergrande next Saturday while Renhe are away to Dalian Aerbin.

Pele talks up Brazilian gold

10 August 2012 15:37

Former Brazil star Pele is backing his national team to add Olympic gold to their array of other football accolades.

For all their success in the World Cup, Brazil has only managed two silver and two bronze medals in Olympic football – but they have the chance to put that right in London when they take on Mexico in Saturday’s final.

Pele, in the UK after being presented with an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh, never played in an Olympics having turned professional at the age of 17, when the tournament was reserved for amateurs.

But the 71-year-old is confident the likes of Neymar can deliver the global title that neither he nor Brazil have ever won.

“People always say Brazil haven’t got a gold medal in the Olympics,” Pele said.

“I started to play at 17-years-old in the World Cup, I become professional and at that time we didn’t have professionals (in the Olympics). The professional could not play, so I never played in an Olympics.

“I hope we get the gold medal that I never got. Brazil has a good team. I think Neymar is a fantastic player.

“I wish we get the only medal we don’t have. The Olympic medal. I am here, I wish that we will go back to Brazil with the gold medal.”

Brazil’s gold medal match against Mexico takes place at Wembley on Saturday, with Korea and Japan fighting for the bronze medal at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Friday.

Lille star backs PSG for title

10 August 2012 15:15

Former Ligue 1 Champions Lille are bracing for a tough campaign following PSG’s unprecedented recruiting spree.

The 2010 champions finished third last season behind PSG and surprise champions Montpellier but midfielder Rio Mavuba believes PSG should be unstoppable this season after signing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

“If you think of it logically, Paris will be the champions,” Mavuba said.

“They have given themselves all the possibilities but we’re also ambitious. We will want to keep them on their toes until the end and I don’t think we are the only ones.

“They (PSG) have 15 or 20 internationals in their ensemble. It could be a source of motivation (for other teams).

“It will be the same with Marseille, Montpellier, Lyon, even Rennes or Bordeaux. Everyone will want to put the brakes on Paris.

“But we’ve got to accept the reality; we were complaining that there weren’t two teams in Paris, but now there are practically two teams in PSG who could play for the title, so that will be complicated.”

Lille winger Dimitri Payet echoed Mavuba’s sentiments but was quick to highlight, just as was the case last season, that big budgets don’t necessarily win titles.

“Seeing the recruitment, it’s certainly difficult to rival names like that,” Payet said.

“But at the same time, big names don’t necessarily mean you win the match or have a great team.

“So we will try and do our championship our way and we shall see where Paris is when we cross paths with them later in the season.”

Lille get their campaign under way against Saint-Etienne on Saturday and Mavuba said he was confident the side could improve despite the loss of Belgian star Eden Hazard to Chelsea.

“We had to tolerate Eden (Hazard) leaving but for that we’ll say we were prepared,” Mavuba said.

“Today we know that we will evolve without him but really; Marvin (Martin) has arrived, Salomon (Kalou).”

Hodgson names new blood

10 August 2012 14:25

England manager Roy Hodgson has named an experimental squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Italy.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and former captain John Terry missed out, while Adam Johnson and Michael Carrick both earned recalls.

There are first senior call-ups for Tottenham duo Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore as well as Ryan Bertrand, while Tom Cleverley joins Manchester United team-mate Carrick in the midfield.

There are two goalkeepers in the squad both hoping to earn their first senior caps, as John Ruddy is back after breaking his finger in the pre-Euro 2012 training camp, while Jack Butland is included after impressive displays for Team GB at the Olympics.

Frank Lampard is back after pulling out of Euro 2012 with injury, while up front Hodgson has chosen a mix of strikers including Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe, Theo Walcott, and Daniel Sturridge, who was not picked for the squad at Euro 2012.

The squad is due to meet up on Sunday after the Community Shield between Chelsea and Manchester City at Villa Park, and will travel to Switzerland on Tuesday.

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich City).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Steven Cauker (Tottenham Hotspur), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Jake Livermore (Tottenham Hotspur), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Ashley Young (Manchester United).

Forwards: Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).