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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Juve clinch seventh Serie A title; Neymar wins award

Football Briefs: Juve clinch seventh Serie A title; Neymar wins award

Last updated on: May 14, 2018 16:01 IST

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

PSG's Neymar receives the France player of the year award from compatriot and former Brazil great Ronaldo (left)

IMAGE: PSG's Neymar receives the France player of the year award from compatriot and former Brazil great Ronaldo (left). Photograph: Neymar Jr/Twitter

Neymar was named as France's player of the year at an awards ceremony in Paris on Sunday.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar took home the honours despite missing the last three months of the season due to injury.

 

He also dismissed talks of moving out of the club.

The world's most expensive player scored 19 goals in just 20 league games for PSG before suffering a foot injury in February that required surgery in his native Brazil.

He has not played since, and only returned to France from his homeland at the start of this month, fuelling speculation that he could seek to leave the club after just one season.

"I am very touched and very happy with our season. It is an honour. Without my teammates, I would never have received this award," AFP quoted the 26-year-old as saying.

Neymar, who joined in PSG's Ligue 1 title celebrations on Saturday night, refused to discuss his future after collecting his award.

"We talk about these things every time the transfer window comes around. I don't want to talk about anything at the moment," he said.

"Everyone knows why I came here, what my objectives are. Right now, my objective is the World Cup, not talking about transfers.

"I spend my whole life, every transfer window, talking about it. It's a bit annoying."

Neymar beat two of his PSG teammates to the prize, voted for by his fellow players -- Edinson Cavani, Ligue 1's leading scorer this season with 28 goals, and Kylian Mbappe were also nominees, along with Marseille winger Florian Thauvin.

Neymar was signed from Barcelona for a world-record 222 million euros ($264 million) last August, and helped PSG on their way to a clean sweep of the domestic trophies.

However, his injury appeared to cost Unai Emery's team dear in their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid -- he was unable to play in the second leg, and PSG lost 5-2 on aggregate.

Juve beat Roma to pocket Serie A title

Juventus' Claudio Marchisio and teammates celebrate after winning the Serie A title on Sunday

IMAGE: Juventus' Claudio Marchisio and teammates celebrate after winning the Serie A title on Sunday. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Juventus wrapped up their seventh successive Serie A title, and their fourth league and cup double in a row, with one match to spare when a 0-0 draw at AS Roma gave them the point they needed on Sunday.

The Turin side, who won the Coppa Italia on Wednesday with a 4-0 win over AC Milan at the same Stadio Olimpico, took a four-point lead over second-placed Napoli with one match left to play.

Napoli will finish as runners-up for the second time in the last three seasons after winning 2-0 at Sampdoria in a match briefly interrupted in the second half because of anti-Neapolitan chants by home supporters.

Juventus maintained their perfect domestic record in their four seasons under Massimiliano Allegri. They have also reached two Champions League finals in that period.

Roma, already qualified for next season's Champions League, dominated the first half and Edin Dzeko, Radja Nainggolan and Lorenzo Pellegrini all just missed the target as the hosts looked dangerous.

Paulo Dybala had the ball in the net two minutes after halftime but he was fractionally offside and Roma were reduced to 10 men when Nainggolan, already booked, was sent off for an ugly foul on Dybala in the 68th minute.

The game petered out after that as Juve coasted home.

Bruges win Belgian title with draw at closest rivals Standard Liege

Club Bruges won the Belgian league title for a second time in three years after scoring a disputed equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at their closest challengers Standard Liege on Sunday that put them clear of the chasing field with one round to play.

Bruges, who have now won 15 titles, came back after conceding early to equalise three minutes before halftime but Ruud Vormer handled the ball before setting up Jelle Vossen for the goal.

The referee consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after the incident but still awarded the goal to the disbelief of the home supporters.

Cypriot international Konstantinos Laifis’ 11th minute goal had given Standard early hope they might take the title race into the last round of matches next Sunday.

Standard, who started four points adrift with two matches to play, remain on course for second place and a spot in the preliminary rounds of next season’s Champions League after third placed Anderlecht were beaten 1-0 at Ghent.

Bruges moved onto 46 points with Standard on 42 and Anderlecht on 40.

Peru confirm captain Guerrero in World Cup squad

Peru's Paolo Guerrero celebrates after scoring

IMAGE: Peru's Paolo Guerrero celebrates after scoring. Photograph: Mariana Bazo/File Photo/Reuters

Peru's football federation have confirmed captain Paolo Guerrero has been selected in the team's World Cup squad following the expiry of a doping ban.

Guerrero was banned for 12 months after testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine following Peru's World Cup qualifier with Argentina in October last year.

Global soccer governing body FIFA reduced the ban to six months but the World Anti-Doping Agency asked the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport to increase the sentence to between one and two years.

The striker, who has protested his innocence throughout, appeared at a CAS hearing earlier this month.

The Peruvian Football Federation said on its Twitter site that it would travel to Brazil "to visit our selected Paolo Guerrero", and take photos and kit measurements for the World Cup.

Guerrero, 34, returned to professional football with Brazilian side Flamengo last week.

Peru, who have qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1982, will face Australia, Denmark and France in Group C at the finals in Russia.

Guerrero has scored 32 goals for his country and helped them finish third in the 2011 and 2015 Copa Americas when he was leading scorer in both tournaments.

Spurs striker Son headlines South Korean World Cup squad

Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min headlined South Korea's preliminary 28-man squad for the World Cup on Monday, with coach Shin Tae-yong set to trim five players before the tournament starts next month.

Shin also handed a first senior call-up to exciting young winger Lee Seung-woo, who was regarded as one of Barcelona's most promising talents at its La Masia youth academy before he made the switch to Italy's Hellas Verona last year.

The maiden selections of 20-year-old Lee, Jeju defender Oh Ban-suk and Incheon midfielder Moon Seon-min came as something of a surprise but Shin said they were not there just to make up the numbers.

"Even though there's not a lot of time left until the World Cup, they could make it if they impress," Shin told reporters.

Shin said he had seen exactly what Lee could bring to the table after coaching the South Korea squad at the Under-20 World Cup last year.

Lee was one of the standouts of the tournament, scoring twice, including against Argentina in a 2-1 victory, as hosts South Korea reached the last 16.

"I am more aware of his strong points and weaknesses than anyone else after going through the Under-20 World Cup together," Shin added.

Shin, 49, said he had planned to forgo a preliminary squad and name just 23 players but injuries had forced him to shuffle his pack. He said his main selection issues were in defence.

The squad is split evenly between domestic and foreign-based players, and Shin will have to submit his final squad by June 4.

The Koreans, who will face Mexico, Sweden and defending champions Germany in their group at the finals, are making their ninth straight appearance at the World Cup.

They are scheduled to play tune-up matches against Honduras, Bosnia, Bolivia and Senegal before meeting Sweden in their opening Group F encounter in Nizhny Novgorod on June 18.

Gerrard keen to channel Klopp at Rangers

New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard hopes to establish the same brand of attacking football at the club as Juergen Klopp has brought to Liverpool and says Celtic's days of strolling to the Scottish Premiership title are over.

The former England captain, who had been coaching Liverpool's Under-18s after hanging up his boots two years ago, was named Rangers manager earlier this month and was tasked with ending Glasgow rivals Celtic's recent domination.

Rangers have won a record 54 Scottish league titles but are still recovering from the financial problems that saw them reformed in the bottom tier of Scottish football in 2012.

They finished third in the Premiership for the second straight year after returning to the top flight in 2016, while 'Old Firm' rivals Celtic claimed a seventh successive title.

"When you look at the style of football that Juergen Klopp plays, I think every fan in the world loves watching that," Gerrard said in a Question and Answer session in Dubai as part of a Liverpool club function.

"He's been absolutely massive for the club."

Gerrard, who made 710 appearances for his boyhood club during 17 years at Anfield, formally takes charge of Rangers on June 1 and said he was looking forward to getting started.

"Celtic have had it their own way for far too long," added Gerrard, who will bring former Anfield team mate Gary McAllister to Ibrox with him as his assistant.

"This is a massive opportunity for myself and Gary McAllister to go to a huge football club and try to improve things in Glasgow.

"We go up to Glasgow and we will give it our best."

World Cup referee under investigation by Saudi FA

A referee selected for the this year's World Cup is being investigated by Saudi Arabian authorities, the nation's football association has said.

Fahad Al-Mirdasi, one of 36 referees chosen by FIFA for Russia, was replaced by English official Mark Clattenberg for the King's Cup final between Al-Ittihad and Al-Faisaly on Sunday.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said on its Twitter account that Al-Mirdasi was under "administrative investigation" but did not specify the nature of the probe.

A source close to the Saudi Arabia Football Federation told Reuters a disciplinary hearing would be held on Monday, with Al-Mirdasi accused of asking one of the teams playing in the King's Cup final for money.

A decision is expected to be announced later on Monday.

Al-Mirdasi was selected for last year's Confederations Cup in Russia, a warmup for the June 14-July 15 World Cup.

Allegri planning to stay at Juventus

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is likely to stay with the Turin side, he said after leading them to a seventh successive Serie A title on Sunday.

Allegri, who has won four league and cup doubles in as many years at Juventus, has been linked in media reports with a move to Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea.

"If they don't kick me out, I'm thinking of staying at Juventus next year as well," the 50-year-old told reporters, quoted by Ansa news agency.

"It's about planning what the future of Juventus will be, because once we've finished celebrating, we have to sit around a table with clear heads," Allegri said.

He also won Serie A with AC Milan in 2011.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is leaving the club after 22 years in charge and Italian Antonio Conte could leave Chelsea after two years in the job following a disappointing season in which they finished fifth in the Premier League after winning the title in 2017.

AIFF suspends Minerva owner Bajaj for a year, fines Rs 10 lakh for racial abuse

I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj was today banned for one year from all football activity and also fined Rs 10 lakh after being found 'guilty' of making racist remarks by AIFF.

The All India Football Federation Disclipinary Committee said this was the fourth offence committed by Bajaj within a span of year.

The latest incident happened during Minerva's Under-18 Youth League play-off match against Aizawl FC that ended in a 1-1 draw at JLN Stadium in Shillong on May 12.

According to the disciplinary committee's finding, Bajaj hurled racial comments and abuses against the referee Pynskhemhame Mawthoh, who is from the North East.

"The Committee holds Bajaj guilty of committing serious gross acts of infringements and imposes with sanction of suspension of 12 months," the disclipinary committee said in its 11-page report which is in possession with PTI.

During the period of suspension, Bajaj will be "banned" from any football-related activities or entry into the stadium during any tournament held under the aegis of AIFF.

The fine of Rs 10 lakh has to be paid by Bajaj within a period of 10 days from the date of communication of this decision which was made yesterday.

"In default of which, suspension and the ban shall continue for the delayed period over and above 12 months, till payment in full," said AIFF disciplinary committee, chaired by Ushanath Banerjee, in the report.

Match commissioner Biswajit Mitra also gave his account of the details in the disciplinary committee report and concurred that Bajaj had hurled racial abuses, something the Minerva owner has denied.

"Bajaj acted like a criminal indulging in series of hooliganism, abusing the Match Officials in filthy languages, threatening them openly, making racist remarks against the Match Officials. Certainly, none of these can be equated with an educated Guardian of a Sports Club," it added.

Source:
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