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Extras: Enrique returns as Spain coach after daughter's death

Last updated on: November 19, 2019 22:52 IST

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

Former FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique was named Spain coach after the team's ouster from the 2018 World Cup

IMAGE: Former FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique was first appointed Spain coach after the team's ouster from the 2018 World Cup. Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Luis Enrique has been reappointed Spain coach, having resigned from the role in June as his late daughter battled cancer, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said on Tuesday.

 

Rubiales said Robert Moreno, the former assistant coach who steered Spain to Euro 2020 qualification after Luis Enrique left, wanted to stand down so that he could return.

Luis Enrique's daughter Xana died in September.

"Today we can confirm that Luis Enrique returns to his role as coach," Rubiales told a news conference.

"Everyone knew that if Luis Enrique wanted to return he would have the doors to the national team open to him."

Moreno, who led the team to seven victories and two draws as Spain comfortably qualified for next summer's tournament, had said when appointed that he would step aside if Enrique wanted to return.

Moreno did not speak to media after his side's 5-0 win over Romania on Monday, and there were reports that he has fallen out with Enrique and will not return as his assistant.

"Luis Enrique's decisions regarding his staff, as well as Robert's decision not to continue when he found out Luis Enrique wanted to return, are personal things. You have to ask them," added Rubiales.

"On Monday, Robert sent us a message saying he wanted to leave so as not to hinder the return of Luis Enrique."

Rubiales confirmed that the 49-year-old Enrique, the former Barcelona coach, has a contract until after the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and will stay on regardless of the team's performance at Euro 2020.

Pele is incomparable: Brazil coach Tite

Brazil coach Tite has rubbished the ongoing comparisons between Argentine striker Lionel Messi and former star Pele, saying the latter is incomparable.

He also said that the comparisons between both the stars have no credibility.

"Pele is incomparable. Anybody who wants to compare Pele to any other athlete...do you know what I do? I hear but I don`t listen. It's as if this person doesn't know the history of this man's quality... this guy was phenomenal," Goal.com quoted Tite as saying.

"Once I said that Messi is extraordinary. I meant he's extraordinary to the present time and among humans, with his creativity. Pele is out of normal patterns and I'm not saying this because I'm a Brazilian. You can't find a defect. If somebody comes to me and starts to make comparisons, for me it has no credibility," he added.

Tite and Messi had clashed on the field in the match between Brazil and Argentina last week, and the Brazil coach had claimed that the Argentine told him to 'shut his mouth'.

Argentina had managed to defeat Brazil and this loss meant that the Copa America winners have now gone five matches without scripting a victory.

Tite's side has lost matches against Argentina and Peru, while their games against Colombia, Senegal and Nigera ended up as a draw.

"I am not desperate to win. I am happy to be where I am. I am aware of the pressure but I have no desperation. I don't have any of this. What I do want is to make a great game," Tite said.

Brazil will next take on South Korea in a friendly match later today.

I-League kicks off with match between Mohun Bagan and Aizawl on Nov 30

Former champions Aizawl FC will clash with Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan at home in the opening round match of the I-League 2019-20 season, on November 30.

In another opening round match, Kozhikode-based Gokulam Kerala FC will host Manipur's Neroca FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium on November 30, according to the fixtures of the 11-team I-League announced by All India Football Federation on Tuesday.

Defending champions Chennai City FC will begin their campaign at home the next day as they host debutants Tiddim Road Athletic Union, the second club from Manipur this season, at the Nehru Stadium.

The AIFF has announced that DSport will broadcast the matches which will run till April next year, a move that was lauded by a number of club officials.

The two Kolkata derby matches between heavyweight arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will be played at Salt Lake Stadium on December 22 and March 15 next year.

Both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will play their other nine home matches at Kalyani Municipal Stadium.

Real Kashmir will open their campaign with an away match against East Bengal on December 4 while their first home match is on December 12 against Gokulam Kerala FC at TRC Ground in Srinagar.

AIFF's developmental side Indian Arrows will play the first five of their home matches -- beginning on December 6 against Gokulam Kerala FC -- at Tilak Maidan at Vasco in Goa while the remaining five will play at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Kalinga Stadium is being currently used as home venue of the Odisha FC in the ongoing Indian Super League.  

Punjab FC -- previously Minerva Punjab -- have chosen Guru Nanak Stadium at Ludhiana as their home venue.

"The fixtures have been drawn after consulting our marketing partners FSDL, broadcasters DSport, and all the clubs involved in the competition," said I-League CEO Sunando Dhar.

"This season, we have a lot more flexibility as far as the fixtures are concerned, with the kick-off timings being at 2pm, 5pm and 7pm. I'm sure this would make all the clubs happy."

Qatar to charter cruise liners to host fans at World Cup

Qatar will charter two cruise liners to help accommodate football fans during the 2022 World Cup, as the Gulf nation of about 2.7 million people looks for ways to host an expected 1 million visitors.

Fans of all 32 teams in the tournament will effectively be staying in the same city, raising questions over how the country can accommodate them and keep them entertained.

The local organising committee said on Tuesday it has signed an agreement with MSC Cruises to charter two liners with a combined capacity of 4,000 cabins which will be used as floating hotels for fans.

The committee has promised that there will be enough accommodation for everyone and that alcohol -- currently only obtainable at a handful of places at prohibitive prices - would be more made widely available.

The committee said in a statement that the ships will be berthed at Doha Port throughout the month-long tournament.

"Chartering cruise liners for fans has long been part of Qatar's accommodation strategy, with the country keen to offer sustainable solutions," it said. It did not say whether alcohol would be available on board.

Shuttle buses will take fans to the metro - which is so far only partially complete.

The committee said other accommodation options will include apartments and fan villages in the desert as well as hotels.

Euro 2020 likely to decide my future, says Southgate

Gareth Southgate says England's performance at the European Championship next year is likely to determine whether or not he is in charge at the 2022 World Cup.

"That will depend very much on how we get on next summer," said Southgate, who will travel to Qatar to run the rule over England's Liverpool players at the Club World Cup.

Qatar will also host the World Cup in 2022.

"When you have a week like you've had, you sense that people can fall out of love with you," he added, referring to the backlash for dropping Raheem Sterling over disciplinary issues.

"If there isn't a warmth for you to continue, then that can start to affect the team. I'm realistic about how quickly those tides can turn."

Southgate, who took over the England role on a permanent basis in 2016 and has a contract until 2022, led the side to the World Cup semi-finals last year and topped their Euro 2020 qualifying group to earn a seeding at the finals.

England are set to play their group stage matches at Wembley, which will also host the semis and final, and Southgate said he was aware of soaring expectations.

"We've dealt well with the expectation over the last 18 months," he said. "We've not shirked from that in the qualifying matches where, in the past, there's been a tension around the performances and the style of the games.

"Securing qualification is a little bit joyless because I'm expecting us to win these games and I'm always looking at how to get better... For me, it's about what's next and I know we'll always be judged ultimately by the tournaments in the summer."

Henry hopes to learn from past mistakes as coach of Montreal

Thierry Henry needs no reminder about his brief stint in charge of AS Monaco but the former France striker said on Monday he hopes the experience will benefit him in his new role as coach of Montreal Impact.

Henry failed to spark a change in fortunes at struggling Monaco and was sacked in January after just 103 days but is not about to let his first head coaching role define him as he gets set to take charge of a Major League Soccer club.

"You guys always remember the good stuff, but I became a better player in the darkness," Henry, who won a World Cup in 1998, said at his introductory news conference in Montreal.

"Hopefully that's going to help me to become a good coach."

During Henry's stint as coach of French Ligue 1 side Monaco, where he also played five seasons and won the league title in 1997, the squad lost 11 of their 20 matches.

But despite Henry's turbulent introduction to being a head coach, the 42-year-old Frenchman said it would be a mistake to just give up and not try to show what he has learned.

"It didn't work out in Monaco. I can give you a lot of excuses but at the end of the day it didn't work out and I am here as a coach of Montreal," said Henry.

"I learned a lot there. The only mistake you can make is not learning from what happened. You have to confront it."

Prior to Monaco, Henry had worked as assistant coach to the Belgian national team but had never been in charge of a team in his own right.

Henry, who scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France and played at four World Cups, is eager for the chance to show the world he has what it takes to be a successful coach.

"It's about fighting all the time, this isn't only my story it's the story of everybody in life. You are going to fall but it's how to get up," said Henry.

Henry will be at the helm of his new team as of mid-January when training camp begins and takes over a Montreal squad that went 12-17-5 this year and missed the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive season.

Henry said he long ago fell in love with French-speaking Montreal, a diverse city where he hopes to have a long adventure with the Impact.

"If you take the best part of Europe and the best part of North America you will arrive in Montreal," said Henry.

Real Madrid's Rodriguez set for spell out with knee injury

Real Madrid's Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez is likely to be out of action for the rest of the year after suffering a knee injury on international duty.

"After undergoing tests by Real Madrid's medical staff today, our player James Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a strained internal ligament in his left knee. Pending evolution," said a statement from Real.

Real did not say how long the midfielder would be sidelined but reports in Spanish media said he would be ruled out for around six weeks, meaning he will miss the rescheduled 'Clasico' against Barcelona on December 18.

Rodriguez has made seven Liga appearances this season but has not featured for Real since coming on as a substitute in their 1-0 Champions League win at Galatasaray on Oct. 22.

He was called up to the Colombia squad for the friendlies against Peru and Ecuador but returned home early from their base in Miami after hurting his knee in training.

The 28-year-old had surgery on the same knee last year after damaging the ligament, forcing him to miss over two months of action while he was on loan at Bayern Munich.

Spanish women's soccer players agree to suspend strike

Spain's top-flight women footballers have temporarily suspended their strike after they edged closer to securing a collective deal with the government over pay and conditions, the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) said on Monday.

The strike led to the postponement of last weekend's women's Primera Division games but matches for next weekend will go ahead as scheduled.

AFE's statement said players had agreed to halt the strike and resume working until Dec. 20 after receiving an offer from the ministry for employment which guaranteed players a minimum salary of 16,000 euros (£13,672.50) per year as well as full-time contracts.

"The strike has achieved its objective, which was to bring to light the problem our colleagues face," said the statement.

"AFE wishes to state that the majority of the players think the offer made by the ministry for employment is positive and our association has told them we are ready to accept it."

Four Australia under-23 players banned for 'unprofessional conduct'

Football Federation Australia has handed lengthy bans to four members of the country's Olympic squad for "unprofessional conduct" at the end of an under-23 tournament in Cambodia in March following a complaint from a woman.

Nathaniel Atkinson, Lachlan Wales and Brandon Wilson were banned until Aug. 10 2020, meaning they will miss the Tokyo Olympics. Captain Riley McGree was banned until April 1 next year.

All four would participate in "education courses and counselling" as directed by the governing body, the FFA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The four were found to have breached the FFA's code of conduct during a night out at the end of the Asian Football Confederation U-23 championship qualifying tournament.

"Specifically, the FFA Board found that the players engaged in unprofessional conduct," the FFA said.

"The matter came to the attention of FFA in April, 2019 following a complaint by a woman."

It was unclear what the nature of the complaint was.

State broadcaster ABC reported the complaint had been made earlier in the year to government funding agency Sport Australia.

The FFA said it had launched an investigation shortly after receiving the complaint but that it had taken months to complete due to its "complexity".

The players were due to travel to China on Nov. 9 to prepare for the AFC U-23 championship in January but were held back pending the sanction. They have recourse to appeal the decision to an independent committee, the FFA said.

"These sanctions are commensurate to the nature of the breaches," FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said.

"Upholding our commitment to respect and responsibility cannot be compromised.

"The players have understood the gravity of their actions and have positively commenced respectful relationship programs that will ensure they appreciate these values in the future."

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