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Football Extras: Barca's De Jong out with calf injury

Last updated on: June 21, 2020 23:14 IST
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De Jong joined Barca from Ajax Amsterdam last year for 75 million euros ($83.81 million) and has appeared in 27 of their 30 league games this season.

IMAGE: Frenkie de Jong joined Barca from Ajax Amsterdam last year for 75 million euros ($83.81 million) and has appeared in 27 of their 30 league games this season. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong is set to miss the team's next match against Athletic Bilbao after the club said in a statement, on Sunday, he had injured the calf muscle in his right leg.

Dutch international De Jong missed Friday's 0-0 draw away to Sevilla which dented Barca's hopes of winning the Spanish title, with coach Quique Setien saying before the game he was leaving the player out as a precaution.

 

The injury proved worse than feared as the club released a medical report on Sunday, saying the player was unable to train although did not say when he would be able to return.

Barca lead Real by three points in the standings but have played one game more than Zinedine Zidane's side, who will go top of the table if they beat Real Sociedad later on Sunday.

Setien's side visit struggling Celta Vigo after Tuesday's match against Athletic before a crunch home game against third-placed Atletico Madrid the following Wednesday.

De Jong joined Barca from Ajax Amsterdam last year for 75 million euros ($83.81 million) and has appeared in 27 of their 30 league games this season.

Real Betis sack coach after winless return to action

Real Betis became the first La Liga club to sack a coach since the season re-started after being halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, firing Rubi who failed to win any of the team's first three matches in their return to action.

Betis lost their first game back 2-0 to Sevilla and drew 2-2 with Granada in mid-week while the final straw proved to be Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Athletic Bilbao, after Sergio Canales missed a late penalty.

Betis released a statement in the early hours of Sunday saying Rubi had been relieved of his duties and that sporting director Alexis Trujillo, a former Betis player, would take charge of the team for the final eight games of the season.

The defeat by Athletic left Betis 14th in the standings on 34 points after 30 games, eight above Real Mallorca who occupy the final spot outside of the relegation zone.

Rubi was named Betis coach last summer after guiding Espanyol to seventh last season, succeeding Quique Setien who went on to become the Barcelona manager last January.

He won eight out of 30 league games with the team, including only one away victory. His greatest result was a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the team's final match before the season was halted in March.

Cavani, Meunier reject short-term contract extensions, says report

Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier have declined to sign short-term contract extensions that would allow them to play cup finals and the Champions League final tournament with Paris St Germain, French radio RMC reported on Sunday.

The Uruguay striker and the Belgium defender's contracts expire on June 30, which, unless they had agreed to sign a two-month extension, rules them out of the French Cup and League Cup finals as well as the Champions League final eight in Lisbon.

Paris St Germain were not immediately available for comment. Reuters was not able to contact Cavani and Meunier for their comments.

Last weekend, PSG sports director Leonardo said that Cavani would not be offered a deal for the next season, but the Brazilian was hoping to keep the club's all-time top scorer to play the Champions League after PSG qualified for the quarter-finals.

The Ligue 1 season was ended on April 30 amid the COVID-19 crisis with PSG being crowned French champions.

The novel coronavirus outbreak also suspended European competitions, with UEFA changing the Champions League format and delaying its conclusion to August while most contracts finish at the end of June.

Ludogorets continue dominance with ninth straight Bulgarian title

Ludogorets continued their dominance of Bulgarian football by winning their ninth successive league title on Sunday with four games to spare by beating visitors Beroe Stara Zagora 2-1.

Unbeaten Ludogorets, who never looked in any real danger during the season, took an unassailable 14-point lead over CSKA Sofia, who drew 3-3 with bitter city rivals Levski on Saturday.

Senegalese striker Alioune Fall gave sixth-placed Beroe the lead midway through the first half but Ludogorets fought back with two goals in two minutes after the break.

In-form Brazilian midfielder Cauly Oliveira levelled by driving home a crisp shot from the edge of the penalty area on the hour and Congolese striker Mavis Tchibota made it 2-1 after a fine solo run less than 90 seconds later.

"This title is more special for me because I joined the team only a half year ago," said Ludogorets' Czech coach Pavel Vrba, who has already won three Czech titles with Viktoria Plzen as well as one Slovak title with Zilina. "I'm extremely happy."

Vrba became the Razgrad-based team's third coach this season after taking over from interim boss Stanislav Genchev in December. Genchev had replaced Stoycho Stoev, who was sacked following the goalless draw against Slavia Sofia in August.

The Eagles, who will go into the Champions League qualifying rounds, have had 10 different coaches since their ninth-title run began.

Ludogorets werr promoted to the top-flight for the first time in 2011 and clinched their first title the following year. They have also won two Bulgarian Cups and four Supercups in the last eight years.

CSKA remain the Balkan country’s most successful club domestically with 31 league titles, followed by Levski on 26.

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