Category Archives: News

Ronald Koeman appointed as new Netherlands manager until 2022

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Former Everton and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has been appointed as the new Netherlands national team coach up until 2022.

Koeman will take charge of the national squad against England on 23 March as the country hopes to compete at the Qatar World Cup having failed to qualify for Russia 2018.

A statement by the Dutch FA on Tuesday read: “The KNVB has reached an agreement with Ronald Koeman over his appointment as the Dutch national team coach. Koeman has just signed a contract that ties him to Oranje with immediate effect up to and including the 2022 World Cup.”

Koeman, who has been out of work since being sacked at Goodison Park in October, succeeds Dick Advocaat, who stepped down last year after failing to lead the Netherlands to the World Cup in Russia this year.

“I’m really positive about the future of the team,” Koeman said in a press conference. “We have enough talent but we have to change some things, which I will talk about at a later stage.”

“I think the Netherlands should and must be qualifying for major finals and I see a bright future in that regard. That’s why I’ve taken the job.”

This will be 54-year-old Koeman’s 10th managerial post after spells in charge of Vitesse Arnhem, Ajax, Benfica, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia, AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord, Southampton and Everton, where he was sacked in October after guiding them to seventh in his only full season in charge.

However, his status as a Dutch legend himself could help his tenure after winning 78 caps and won the European Championship in 1988 as a player for the team.

He also saw success in the Premier League as he led Southampton to finishes at sixth and seventh in the Premier League in his two years in charge at St Mary’s.

Brazil legend Ronaldinho retires from professional football

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The Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has retired from professional football, according to his brother and agent Roberto Assis.

Ronaldinho, 37, who also won the Champions League and Ballon d’Or in a trophy-laden career, has not played for a professional team since leaving Fluminense in 2015, and said on the sidelines of a friendly in Chechnya that was he was “too old” to return to action last July.

Roberto Assis confirmed the news of his brother’s decision in a column for the Brazilian media outlet O Globo and revealed plans for farewell tribute events after the 2018 World Cup — three years after Ronaldinho’s last club game.

“He has stopped, it is ended,” Assis said. “Let’s do something pretty big and nice after the Russia World Cup, probably in August. We will do various events in Brazil, Europe and Asia and, of course, we are arranging something with the Brazilian team as well.”

Ronaldinho is best known for his versatility and excellence as an attacking midfielder, winger and forward throughout his career. He began with Gremio in his home country, before moving to Europe with Paris Saint-Germain in 2001.

His subsequent performances alongside fellow legends Ronaldo and Rivaldo at the 2002 World Cup drew interest from Europe’s elite clubs, and he joined Barcelona in 2003, where he spent five years at the pinnacle of his club career — a time which saw him winning two La Liga titles, the 2005 Ballon d’Or and the 2006 Champions League.

However, after a period of huge success, Ronaldinho reportedly lost focus at Barcelona and was sold to Milan as Pep Guardiola replaced Frank Rijkaard as manager. He also experienced disappointment on the international stage, disappointing at the 2006 World Cup and missing out on selection in 2010, despite a resurgence in form that helped Milan win the Serie A title in 2010-11.

After his stint at Italy, Ronaldinho returned to Brazil at the end of that season, and wound down his club career at Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro and Fluminense, as well as spending a brief spell in Mexico with Querétaro. He earned the last of his 98 Brazil caps against Chile in April 2013.

Man United legend Ryan Giggs ready to take over as Welsh national coach

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Manchester United club legend Ryan Giggs is set to be name as the next Wales national coach n a four-year contract.

The former Wales international will be formally presented as Chris Coleman’s replacement at a press conference in Cardiff on Monday after the 44-year-old Giggas emerged as the Football Association of Wales’s preferred choice amongst four other head coach candidates in Osian Roberts, Craig Bellamy and Mark Bowen.

While the FAW interviewed all four last Thursday Giggs was always believed to be the frontrunner for a position that has been vacant since Coleman left to join Sunderland in November. The panel set up to conduct the search — led by FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford — is expected to put the finishing touches to the agreement.

Giggs, who won 64 caps for Wales and recently described managing his country as “one of the top jobs”.

Still, his experience is limited outside of his playing career with only a brief spell as interim manager at United and also worked as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Old Trafford for a couple of seasons before departing in 2016.

Giggs had also been interviewed for the Swansea City job later that year but was overlooked after the Premier League club opted to appoint Bob Bradley ahead of him.

With Wales missing out on qualification for the World Cup this summer, Giggs’s first major assignment will be to lead his country to the 2020 European Championship finals.

Another issue that remains is whether Roberts, who has been an influential figure in Welsh football’s resurgence and remains the FAW’s technical director, will work alongside Giggs. Roberts was previously employed as Coleman’s No 2 and had hoped he would be given the opportunity to take over as manager.

Liverpool Jon Flanagan pleads guilty to assault charge on girlfriend

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Liverpool FC defender Jon Flanagan has pleaded guilty in court to assaulting his girlfriend.

Flanagan, 25, appeared at the Liverpool magistrates court on Tuesday to answer accusations of beating Rachael Wall and was granted unconditional bail.

The defender was charged after an incident on Duke Street in Liverpool city centre at about 3.20am on 22 December, with case adjourned to 17 January when Flanagan will be sentenced.

The court heard he had been seen on CCTV assaulting his partner, who he has been in a relationship with for 18 months.

Lionel Greig, mitigating, said Wall had not provided a statement and there had been no previous instances of domestic violence in their relationship — and added that both parties were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

The district judge, Wendy Lloyd, said she had been given a breakdown of the CCTV, which showed Flanagan assaulting Wall on several occasions that night and kicking her at one point.

Lloyd told Flanagan he would face a community penalty. “I need to be reassured that these circumstances will never be repeated again,” she added.

Flanagan, who has one England cap, was a standby for England’s 2014 World Cup squad, but has only played once for Liverpool this season and spent last season on loan at Burnley after a 20-month injury lay off.