Category Archives: News

Italian legend Andrea Pirlo retires from football

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Andrea Pirlo has announced he is retiring from football after playing his last game for New York City FC in the MLS.

Pirlo, 38-year-old won 116 caps for Italy and helped them win the 2006 World Cup. He began his career at Brescia in 1998, and has also played for Inter, AC Milan and Juventus, before moving to New York City FC in July 2015 and playing for the MLS side for two seasons.

In October, he announced that he would retire at the end of the MLS season, and has make good by formally retiring after his club was knocked out of the playoffs.

“I want to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have shown me in this incredible city,” Pirlo said in an official statement. “Thank you to the amazing supporters, thank you to the coaching staff and everybody that works behind the scenes, thank you to my team-mates.”

“Not only my adventure in NY comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well. That is why I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family and children for the support and love they always give me, every team that I had the honour to play for, every team-mate that I have been pleased to play alongside, all the people that made my career so incredible, and last but not least, all the fans around the world that always showed me support.

“You will always be on my side and in my heart.”

In addition to the World Cup, Pirlo had gained numerous domestic honours in his career including two Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues and a Club World Cup between 2003 and 2011 with Milan, before playing an instrumental role in helping Juventus win four successive Scudettos between 2012 and 2015.

After arriving in the states, he has helped New York City FC manager Patrick Vieira reach the MLS play-offs in each of the past two seasons, although he was unable to end his career with any further trophies.

Defending Italian champions Juventus has described him as a “true genius”, and Vieira said Pirlo “changed football forever”.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane take top honours at FIFA awards

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Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Zinedine Zidane were named FIFA men’s and men’s coach of the year respectively at the governing body’s annual ‘The Best’ football awards.

Ronaldo will retain the title he won in 2016 — again finishing ahead of Lionel Messi in a vote between national team players, coaches, media and fans — earning his fifth award as FIFA’s top male footballer.

The Portuguese captain took 43.16% of the total vote, earned in a fruitful year in which he won the Champions League and La Liga with Real and extending his form in longevity. He scored two goals against Juventus in the Champions League final to help Real achieve continental supremacy for the 12th time, along with a hat-trick against Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals.

When asked how long he could keep up this level of form, Ronaldo said: “I don’t know, I just enjoy the moment, the moment is great. I feel happy, I’m 32 and have won best player in the world and I’m so glad. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year. I just try to focus on the moment.”

The was also little doubt that Real coach Zinedine Zidane would claim the award for best men’s coach after concluding last season as the champions of Spain for the first time since 2012 and champions of Europe for the second successive season.

Zidane won the award ahead of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League title in his first season, and Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri, who led his team to a league and cup double in Serie A and Coppa Italia.

Meanwhile, Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud was awarded the Puskas for best goal that came in the Premier League match against Palace on New Year’s Day, with the France forward converting a superb ‘scorpion’ kick volley in which he flicked an Alexis Sanchez cross from behind him over his shoulder and into the goal with his left heel.

Also, in addition to awarding the best players and best coaches of different categories the FIFA ceremony also included the Fair Play Award, which recognised the gesture by Togolese player Francis Kone, who performed life-saving first aid on Bohemians 1905 goalkeeper Martin Berkovec during a Czech League game in February.

Indonesian goalie Choirul Huda dies after collision with teammate

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Choirul Huda, goalkeeper for the Liga 1 club Persela Lamongan, has died after a collision with a teammate during a league match.

Huda, 38 collided with his teammate and defender Ramon Rodrigues along with an opponent, Semen Pedang attacker Marcel Sacramento when he came off his line to challenge for the ball, and lost consciousness following the clash inside his penalty area.

He was quickly stretchered off the field and rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The match continued after the incident with Persela beating Semen Padang 2-0 in the Indonesian top-flight match, but club coach Aji Santoso confirmed after the game that Huda had sadly lost his life. Later, thousands of fans later attended a candlelit vigil to honour the goalkeeper, who made more than 500 league appearances for his only club.

Huda had played for Persela since 1999, and the club described him as “the Real Legend of Persela” in a tribute on Twitter.

In a statement from a doctor at the Dr Soegiri Lamongan Hospital posted on the official Persela website, Huda was described as having suffered a “traumatic collision” which led to a cardiac arrest.

It said that initial analysis revealed the impact was to the chest and lower jaw, resulting in the “possibility of chest trauma, head trauma and neck trauma”.

Dr Nugroho, a resident of the hospital added that the collision resulted in Huda “stopping breathing and [caused a] cardiac arrest”, and while a medical team attempted to revive him there were “no reflexes of signs of normal life” after an hour.

PSG president investigated in World Cup bribery case

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The Swiss attorney-general’s office (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection to the awarding of World Cup media rights for 2026 and 2030.

Nasser al-Khelaifi, one of the most powerful figures in European and world football because of PSG’s and beIN’s Qatari backing and FIFA’s controversial vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, was named as the subject of investigation by OAG on Thursday.

This follows an ongoing OAG investigation into the former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke that began in March 2016 on grounds of “suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement”. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Khelaifi was accused of bribing Valcke in connection with the award of TV rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups, as beIN Sports has bought from FIFA the rights to broadcast those tournaments to countries in the Middle East and north Africa, after findings obtained in the investigation against Valcke have led to a separate line of inquiry involving Al-Khelaifi, who is CEO of beIN Media Group.

Searches were carried out at beIN’s offices at Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris following a request from the OAG.

The sports broadcaster, of which Khelaifi is the chief executive as well as chairman, said in a statement: “beIN refutes all accusations made by OAG. The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of the investigation.”

Valcke — who was interviewed on Thursday — is currently in the process of appealing against his 10-year ban from football at the Court of Arbitration for Sport after being found guilty of a series of breaches of FIFA’s code of ethics and was sacked in January 2016, though he has always denied any wrongdoing.