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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: France's World Cup winner Trezeguet signs up for Indian Super League

Sports Shorts: France's World Cup winner Trezeguet signs up for Indian Super League

Last updated on: July 30, 2014 19:46 IST

France's World Cup winner Trezeguet signs up for Indian Super League

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Former France and Juventus striker David Trezeguet followed compatriot Robert Pires by becoming the latest overseas recruit for India's new franchise-based soccer league on a one-year deal with Pune City.

Pires, Joan Capdevila and Freddie Ljungberg have already confirmed their participation in the eight-team Indian Super League (ISL), scheduled from October to December.

Capdevila's fellow-Spaniard Luis Garcia will represent the Kolkata franchise, co-owned by Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, while former Liverpool and England goalkeeper David James has also committed to playing in the league.

The 36-year-old Trezeguet, a 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner with France, was on loan at Newell's Old Boys from River Plate in Argentina last season.

The ISL franchise, which has a tie-up with Serie A club Fiorentina for strategic and technical support, has appointed Italian Franco Colomba as head coach.

"Trezeguet will be our marquee player. He will spearhead our team, score goals and hopefully win the league for us," Pune's chief executive Gaurav Modwel told reporters on Wednesday.

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Image: David Trezeguet
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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Sports Shorts: Lisicki fires fastest ever serve in Stanford defeat

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German Sabine Lisicki fired the fastest serve ever recorded at a WTA event on Tuesday, unleashing a 210.8 kph (131 mph) bomb in her first round loss to Ana Ivanovic at the Stanford Classic.

Lisicki, who lost 7-6(2), 6-1, unleashed the serve in the opening set of their match on the plexipave hardcourt surface at Stanford University. She won the point despite former world number one Ivanovic getting her racket to the ball.

The WTA said the serve bettered the previous record of 207.6 kph set by American Venus Williams at the U.S. Open in 2007.

"Well ... at least I broke the world record for fastest serve on @WTA ...," Lisicki tweeted after her defeat.

Defending champion Dominika Cibulkova was another first round loser in Stanford on Tuesday, going down 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to 20-year-old Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.

The fastest serve ever recorded on approved equipment in professional tennis was the 263.4 kph (163.7 mph) rocket hit by Australian Sam Groth at an ATP Challenger event in Busan, South Korea in May 2012. He too lost the match.

Next: Carlos Tevez's father kidnapped, released after ransom paid


Image: Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Carlos Tevez's father kidnapped, released after ransom paid

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The father of Juventus striker Carlos Tevez was kidnapped in Buenos Aires on Tuesday before being released following the payment of a ransom, according to local media.

Reports said the footballer had initially looked to fly from Turin, where he is in pre-season training, to Argentina on hearing the news of the kidnapping but he remained in Italy.

Tevez said on Twitter that his father had been released without harm.

“I thank everyone for their support always. I’m able to tell you my father is Okay, safe and sound. That’s what’s most important,” he said on his Twitter account.

“I also thank... the Buenos Aires and Federal and Anti-kidnapping police (forces) for their support for my family.”

Next: ‘We admire your son but we have to do this’


Image: Argentine soccer player Carlos Tevez waits in the check-in line with his wife Vanesa Mansillo (left), and daughters Katie and Florencia (in red)
Photographs: Reuters

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'We admire your son, but we have to do this to work'

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The amount paid for Segundo Tevez’s release was not revealed but media reports said it was 400,000 Argentine pesos ($48,900).

Tevez's brother Diego told local radio station La Red that at first his father only had his vehicle stolen and was immediately released, but they went back for him when they saw his name on its registration.

"When they realised he was the father (of Carlos Tevez) because of the 'green card' they went back for him and asked for the ransom," Diego Tevez said.

The daily La Nacion, quoting sources close to the police operation, reported that the kidnappers had told Tevez’s father: “We admire your son, but we have to do this to work."

Despite being in brilliant form in Serie A for Juventus last season, Tevez was not chosen by Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella for the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in the Rio de Janeiro final two weeks ago.

"We're annoyed with Sabella because he didn’t call him up to the national team,” La Nacion also quoted the kidnappers as saying.

Next: Sabella quits as Argentina coach


Image: Police stand near the home of Juan Alberto Cabral, father of Juventus' Carlos Tevez, in Buenos Aires
Photographs: Enrique Marcarian/Reuters

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Sabella quits as Argentina coach

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Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the World Cup final, has quit as national team coach with Gerardo Martino or Jose Pekerman in line to succeed him, Argentine media reported on Tuesday.

The reports said Sabella, whose side lost 1-0 to Germany in the final at Brazil's Maracana, had told Argentine FA (AFA) President Julio Grondona of his decision not to stay on.

If Sabella steps aside, the AFA will have to move quickly to name a successor with Argentina beginning preparations for their next major tournament, the 2015 Copa America in Chile, with a friendly against Germany in Duesseldorf on Sept. 3.

Former Paraguay and Barcelona coach Martino, and Pekerman, who steered Argentina to the 2006 quarter-finals and Colombia to the same stage in Brazil, are front runners to take over.

Sabella, 59, has called a news conference for Wednesday (1900 GMT) at AFA headquarters where he is likely to explain his decision and possibly reveal his future plans.

Sabella's agent, Eugenio Lopez, said two days before the World Cup final that the coach was unlikely to carry on and Sabella himself said on his return to Buenos Aires that he was unsure if he had the energy to give his best any longer.

Next: ‘Messi could help us expand’


Image: Head coach Alejandro Sabella of Argentina
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Messi could help us expand in Russia, say Barcelona

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Barcelona want to use Lionel Messi to help expand commercial ties with Russia despite diplomatic tensions between Moscow and the West, the Spanish club's vice-president Javier Faus said on Tuesday.

Russia and Brazil were places where the club did not have a major business partner and while Argentine Messi could help in Russia, Brazilian Neymar could do the same in his native country, Faus said on the club website.

Faus was announcing Barcelona's financial results for 2013/14 in which the club made a record turnover of 530 million euros ($710.8 million).

Member-owned Barcelona reported a net profit of 41 million euros last season despite losing out on the Spanish title to Atletico Madrid and seeing rivals Real Madrid claim the Champions League.

"We are much stronger and we feel we have a greater presence around the world than we did four years ago”, Faus said after the club matched Real Madrid in breaking the 500 million euro turnover figure.

Russia is facing the threat of tougher economic sanctions over its support for separatists in Ukraine who are accused by the West of shooting down a Malaysian Airways passenger plane this month, killing 298 people.

Barcelona's image took a blow in January when club president Sandro Rosell stepped down when he was accused of tax evasion over Neymar's move from Brazilian club Santos.

Next: No backhanded compliments for Federer from Edberg


Image: Lionel Messi
Photographs: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

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No backhanded compliments for Federer from Edberg

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Roger Federer's backhand has been described as a thing of beauty and perhaps the most exquisite stroke the tennis world has seen, but his coach Stefan Edberg feels his was a little better.

When asked on Tuesday who possessed the better backhand, the former world number one said he would have to give himself the edge in that category.

"A lot of the other strokes I think he does a lot better than I did but I'll give myself a bit of favour with my backhand," Edberg said on a conference call ahead of the Aug. 2-10 Rogers Cup in Toronto where Federer will launch his North American hardcourt season.

"I had one of the better backhands in the game when I was playing, I could use it offensively or defensively, a lot of variations. It was a key shot for me."

If Federer and Edberg were to debate the matter it would surely produce the ultimate gentlemen's argument.

Edberg was brought on board last December to help revive Federer's flagging career, and the stylish Swede has proven to be the ideal complement to the Swiss maestro, both men being of similar unflustered temperament and demeanor.

During a brilliant playing career Edberg used his graceful backhand to great effect helping him to six grand slam singles titles, two each at Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open.

The one-hander has also been a key weapon in Federer's arsenal of shots and no player has produced better results with it than the Swiss amassing a record 17 grand slam crowns.

While Edberg rates his backhand ahead of Federer's he is unlikely to offer any tips on how to improve that shot but the Swede has provided a lift in other areas after the former world number one struggled through a disappointing 2013 that saw him fail to reach a grand slam final for the first time since 2002.

Next: McIlroy not one to rest on his laurels

 


Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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British Open champion McIlroy not one to rest on his laurels

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Rory McIlroy embellished his status as one of the game's best players with his wire-to-wire win at the British Open nine days ago, but has put that behind him as he strives to achieve further goals before the end of this year.

The Northern Irishman has made a habit of stringing together red-hot runs of form during his burgeoning career and has set his sights on clinching a maiden World Golf Championships crown at this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

"I've obviously had a bit of time to reflect after the (British) Open and everything, but just decided I wanted to move on and move forward," World No 2 McIlroy said.

"There's a lot of big tournaments left this year, a lot of golf left to play and a lot of things I still want to achieve. So I definitely wasn't going to dwell on what I'd done at Hoylake (venue for the British Open).

"I want to move on and start by playing well again this week. I've never won a World Golf Championship. I've got three majors but never won one of these, so there's a lot of stuff still to play for."

Next: Drogba aims to end Chelsea's five-year title wait


Image: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug after his two-stroke victory at The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool
Photographs: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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Excited Drogba aims to end Chelsea's five-year title wait

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An excited Didier Drogba is back at Chelsea to try to help the former European champions end a five-year wait to land the Premier League title, he said on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old Ivory Coast striker signed a 12-month deal last week to return to Stamford Bridge after having left the club immediately after their 2012 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.

"Five years is a long time not to win the Premier League so I want to win it," Drogba told the club website (www.chelseafc.com).

"To lift the Premier League trophy is a fantastic feeling and we haven't experienced it for a few years, too long for a club like ours.

"I missed the Premier League, which for me is the best in the world. It's true the German league is on the way up but the English league has been the best over the last decade and I'm really looking forward to playing the first game."

Next: Vidal not Man United bound


Image: Chelsea Coach Jose Mourinho, right, shares a joke with Didier Drogba
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Juve's Vidal staying and not Man United bound, says Allegri

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Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal is not heading for Manchester United but is fundamental to champions Juventus and is happy to stay, the Italian club's manager Massimiliano Allegri said on Tuesday.

“The ideal thing would be not only to keep hold of Vidal but to bring others in," Allegri told reporters.

“We have never activated a clause to try to sell him and if he doesn't show an intention to leave, our position won't change.

"He is a player that I consider fundamental and he wants to stay here,” added Allegri, who took over from Antonio Conte earlier this month.

Vidal has been frequently linked to United during the close season, with media reports saying the Premier League club are preparing a £48 million ($81.30 million) bid for the 27-year-old.

He scored 11 league goals for Juve last season as they romped to their third straight Serie A title.


Image: Arturo Vidal of Chile
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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