News of all that's transpired on and off the football field
Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma was, on Thursday, named La Liga’s brand ambassador in India.
Rohit, a fan of Zinedine Zidane, is the first-ever non-footballer brand ambassador appointed by La Liga globally and will be the face of the league in India.
"Football in India is in its global growth trajectory and it is heartening to see that it is no more considered as the 'sleeping giant'. Over the course of the past five years, we have witnessed a significant growth in the interest for football in India. Credit must be given to everyone associated with it, including the fans," said Rohit.
"I am truly delighted to be associated with La Liga. It's encouraging to see the Spanish giant have made inroads into the Indian football ecosystem through their grassroots programme. Personally, I see this as an interesting journey for me into the beautiful game with La Liga. I look forward eagerly to connecting with the football fans in India," he added.
Rohit during the event also said that World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the best in the business when it comes to playing football.
"MS Dhoni is the best footballer in the Indian Cricket team," said Rohit.
Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya follow football very closely and also try to follow footballers' hairstyles and looks," he added.
"This is not because I am associated with La Liga. I used to love Zinedine Zidane, I watched him play and that's how I started watching football regularly and Spain obviously because of their skills, how they play football.
"Real Madrid is again because of the skill and passion, how they play and how much skills they have within the group," he said.
Rohit said the standard of Indian football has improved in recent years.
"Indian football has taken giant leap in last few years. It has become competitive and you can see that when you watch ISL and when you see the Indian national team play against all the opposition."
"The infrastructure has grown immensely and ISL in particular has provided a good platform to younger Indian players to come out and display the skills, just like how IPL has done for Indian cricket."
Bayern forward Coman in knee splint after Champions League injury
Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman has suffered an injury to his left knee that will keep him out for the foreseeable future, the German club has said.
The Frenchman was injured during Bayern's 3-1 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday that sent them through to the competition's knockout stages as group winners with a perfect record of six wins in six games.
Coman, 23, opened the scoring in the 14th minute but jarred his knee just over 10 minutes later and left the pitch in considerable pain.
""The diagnosis... revealed a capsule tear in the left knee," Bayern said on their website.
"Coman also pulled his biceps tendon and jarred the knee joint. The knee will be immobilised for a while with a splint."
Bayern did not say when Coman was expected to return to action.
The five-time European champions became the first German team, and only the seventh in all, to win all six group games in the Champions League, giving them a much-needed lift after their domestic struggles this season.
Bayern have won the German top-flight title a record 29 times, including the last seven seasons in a row, but are currently seventh in the league, seven points behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The champions parted company with coach Niko Kovac last month and interim boss Hansi Flick said they would immediately switch focus to putting things right in the league, where they have lost their last two games.
"We didn't get everything right today, but we won and that's a sign that we have to keep going. We now have three games until the winter break to switch our attention to," he added.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer hailed Bayern's "historic" achievement in Europe, but said the team were already looking ahead to Saturday's home league match against Werder Bremen.
"We didn't just want to break the record in the group, we want to win every game," Neuer added. "Now we have three more important games (before the Bundesliga shuts for winter on Dec. 22) and we have to put our all into winning all of them."
UEFA should be a lot harder with punishments: Isak on controlling racism
Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak said that UEFA should be a lot harder with punishment to control racist incidents in the game.
The Sweden international himself was subjected to racist abuse during his Euro 2020 clash against Romania in November. Isak wants the abolition of racism not only from the stadiums but also the world.
"Honestly, I don't know what the solution can be. I think there's a responsibility to punish people who do stuff like that. I think there should be serious consequences for that stuff. Something has to happen. I'm not in charge, but it's not for me to say, but I hope something happens," Goal.com quoted Isak as saying.
"I think that UEFA should be a lot harder with punishments, but also it's not only about getting it away from stadiums. It shouldn't be in this world. The problem is big, and it's not easy to solve," he added.