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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football shorts: JLo back onboard for World Cup opening ceremony

Football shorts: JLo back onboard for World Cup opening ceremony

June 11, 2014 21:13 IST

Football shorts: JLo back onboard for World Cup opening ceremony

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Jennifer Lopez has assured fans that she will be joining Pitbull at the World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil on Thursday, June 12, two days after soccer officials announced she had pulled out of the performance.

The superstar teamed up with rapper Pitbull and singer Claudia Leitte to record the official FIFA World Cup anthem We Are One (Ole Ola) and they were due to help kick off the high-profile soccer competition this week by hitting the stage during the opening festivities at the Arena de Sao Paulo, Contactmusic reported.

On Sunday, FIFA bosses claimed unspecified "production issues" had prompted Lopez to cancel the gig, but she insists she wouldn't miss it for the world and has blamed her crazy work schedule for causing planning issues.

Lopez, Pitbull and Leitte will take the stage before host nation Brazil takes on Croatia in the first match of the World Cup.

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Image: Jennifer Lopez performs at Orchard Beach
Photographs: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

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Pirlo signs new two-year deal to stay at Juventus

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Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo has signed a new two-year deal with Juventus which will keep him at the Serie A champions until 2016, the club said on Wednesday.

Since leaving AC Milan in 2011, the 35-year-old midfielder has inspired Juventus to three successive Serie A titles and his performance has been rewarded with an extended contract.

Known as an exceptional free-kick exponent, Pirlo scored six goals last season for the club.

"A beacon in the centre of the field and a torment for our opponents, with Pirlo pulling the strings Juve have racked up three consecutive league titles and added two Italian Super Cups," Juventus said on their club website (www.juventus.com)

"For 131 games Andrea Pirlo has been the fulcrum of the side, the intersection through which every move passes.

"In three years, he's played his team mates through on goal 30 times, touching the ball at least once for every minute he's spent on the pitch (11,551 balls played versus his 11,344 minutes in action), with a pass completion rate of over 90 percent.

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Image: Andrea Pirlo of Juventus
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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Mancini leaves Galatasaray after less than a year

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Italian coach Roberto Mancini has left Turkish giants Galatasaray by mutual agreement after less than a season in charge, the club announced on Wednesday.

Mancini had joined the Istanbul-based side on a three-year deal at the end of September, having being sacked by Manchester City at the end of the 2012-13 campaign and a year after leading the club to their first Premier League title in 44 years.

He left City after a shock FA Cup final loss to Wigan Athletic and a poor defense of their title, as well as another failure to progress out of the Champions League group stage.

The stylish 49-year-old was appointed Galatasaray coach following the dismissal of Fatih Terim, taking charge only two days before a Champions League match with Juventus.

Having recently said he wanted to remain in Turkey, he has left after what appears to be a difference of opinion about the direction of the team.

"As a coach I understand the demands of the club. However, when I accepted the coaching post, Gala’s aims were different," Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"In the past eight months, despite enduring a challenging start, I have done my job pushed by passion and by hunger which has resulted in the team qualifying for the Champions League, lifting the Turkish Cup and finishing second in the league.

"It’s with sadness that I leave Istanbul and the club’s fantastic supporters."

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Image: Roberto Mancini of Galatasary faces the media
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Lahm, Mueller sign contract extensions at Bayern

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Germany captain Philipp Lahm and winger Thomas Mueller have signed new deals that add two years to their existing contracts at Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga club said on Wednesday.

Bayern skipper Lahm, who can play either at fullback or as a holding midfielder, extended his deal with the German champions until 2018, while the 24-year-old Mueller's agreement now runs until 2019.

"Both Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller are very important elements of Bayern Munich," Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement on the club's website (www.fcbayern.de).

"Both have remained faithful to this club right from the very start of their careers and they are also going to play an important role here in the future.

"We are very happy that both have decided to commit their long-term futures to Bayern Munich.

"Now I hope that Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller have a successful World Cup and I keep my fingers crossed for them and the Germany national team on the way to the title."

The 30-year-old Lahm, considered one of the world's best right-backs, joined Bayern at 11 and said he would end his career at the club.

"It was the right time to discuss an extension," Lahm said. "This is definitely my last contract and I will end my career at Bayern Munich.

"That was always my wish and I'm delighted it has happened."

Mueller, reportedly a transfer target for a number of big clubs across Europe, remains convinced that Bayern is the right place for him.

"I'm delighted to have extended my contract until 2019 so close to the start of the World Cup," he said.


Image: Philipp Lahm (left) and Thomas Mueller during a FC Bayern Muenchen press conference
Photographs: Handout/UEFA via Getty Images

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