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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Ex-United striker Berbatov joins Tendulkar's Kerala Blasters

Football Briefs: Ex-United striker Berbatov joins Tendulkar's Kerala Blasters

August 23, 2017 16:49 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Dimitar Berbatov also played for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL

IMAGE: Dimitar Berbatov also played for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Indian Super League's Kerala Blasters have signed former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov ahead of the 2017-18 season, the player's agent said on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old, who has signed a one-year contract, was a free agent after leaving the Greek side PAOK Salonika in June 2016.

Berbatov, who is Bulgaria's all-time leading scorer with 48 goals in 79 matches, joined United from Spurs in 2008 for a then club-record fee of 30 million pounds ($39 million).

In Manchester, the Bulgarian scored 48 goals in 108 Premier League appearances, winning two league titles.

Berbatov will link up with Kerala's new head coach Rene Meulensteen, who worked with him during his time at Old Trafford as well as Fulham. Last week, the Indian club also signed former Manchester United defender Wes Brown.

Berbatov, named Bulgaria's Footballer of the Year on seven occasions, has also played for CSKA Sofia, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco during his illustrious career.

Former Getafe defender Gomez joins FC Pune City

Spanish defender Rafael Lopez Gomez, who had a stint with top La Liga club Getafe, will play for Indian Super League club, FC Pune City, in the 2017-18 season.

The Spanish central defender, who played top-flight football in Spain and Germany, will fortify the defence line of the Antonio Habas-managed side.

Gomez, a product of the Real Valladolid's youth system, represented club's main team as well as B team before moving on to SD Eibar in the second division. In 2008, the defender joined Getafe CF, where finishing sixth to qualify for the UEFA Europa League in 2009-10 season was the highlight of his stint.

The Spaniard joined newly-promoted German club SC Paderborn in 2014 to ply his trade in Bundesliga before reuniting with Valladolid in 2016.

Australia captain Jedinak to miss key WC qualifiers

Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak will miss the last two World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand in a blow for Australia's hopes of booking their tickets to the finals in Russia next year.

The Aston Villa midfielder, who has been battling a groin injury since April, ruled himself out of contention for next Thursday's crunch match in Japan and the home match against the Thais in Melbourne on Sept. 5.

"We wanted to give him every chance. He was very keen to be a part of it but speaking to him last night, he's probably not going to get in that game that he needs to see how he feels," coach Ange Postecoglou said after naming the 23-man squad on Wednesday.

"Obviously with it being a fairly long trip and with his long absence from gametime, probably he felt he wasn't right and from that perspective, ruled himself out."

Australia are third in Group B of Asian qualifying, a point behind leaders Japan and level with second-placed Saudi Arabia with two rounds remaining.

The top two secure automatic berths to Russia, with the third-placed side needing to win two playoffs to advance.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Ryan, Daniel Vukovic

Defenders: Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Ryan McGowan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright.

Midfielders: Mustafa Amini, Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi.

Forwards: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren.

Former boss of soccer club Dinamo Zagreb shot and wounded

Zdravko Mamic, the former boss of Croatian football club Dinamo Zagreb and one of country's richest men, was shot and wounded in the leg by two attackers in western Bosnia on Tuesday, local media reported.

Dinamo Zagreb, where Mamic is now an advisor, called the incident "attempted murder".

Web portal 24sata said Mamic, 58, was visiting his father's grave near the Bosnian town of Tomislavgrad when two masked gunmen fired shots at him.

He was transferred to a nearby hospital where he was treated for injuries to his leg, local media quoted a police spokesman as saying.

Reuters could not immediately reach the police or representatives of Mamic for comment.

Mamic, a powerful figure in Croatian football who is currently on trial for tax evasion, has been the target of other physical attacks in the past few years, which soccer officials blamed on rival teams' fans, but this was the first time he has been shot and the motive was unclear.

Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia's biggest football club, said in a statement after Tuesday's attack that it was "horrified by the armed attack and the attempted murder of the club's adviser".

Mamic and two other former senior officials from Dinamo Zagreb are on trial after being charged with avoiding paying 12.2 million Croatian kuna ($1.94 million) in taxes and diverting 116 million kuna from the soccer club.

All three deny the charges.

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