Chelsea new boy, Cesc Fabregas is at the centre of a bitter row with old club Barcelona.
Barca owes Fabregas £4million (€5m) after he reportedly paid that figure out of his own pocket to seal his move from Arsenal in 2011.
And having already been forced to pay the Gunners £2.5m for the trophies Fabregas won during his spell back at the Nou Camp, they are now facing another bill.
And according to Spanish sports paper Marca, Barca are refusing to repay their midfielder following his move to Chelsea.
Marca claim the La Liga club told Fabregas he would be repaid should he ever sign for another team.
However, Barca are thought to have warned the 27-year-old if the deal was made public they would flatly deny.
Now whether Fabregas is to receive the debt from the club he joined age 10 appears uncertain. (express.co.uk)
Diego Costa reveals reason for joining Chelsea
DIEGO COSTA has revealed he is joining Chelsea because they are “one of the greatest clubs in the world”.
Chelsea has already agreed to meet the Spain international’s release clause and Costa has already undergone a medical.
Jose Mourinho delivered a withering attack of his side’s blunt attacking force last term and could lose Romelu Lukaku in the summer with Inter Milan and Wolfsburg after his services.
Costa has revealed a burning desire to play in the Premier League and that Chelsea was an attractive proposition.
“Why would I have chosen to play for Chelsea? It is a thing that is about to happen,” Costa told Goal.
“Things are going in a direction and, if they keep going as they are going, it is the team I will play for in the next season.
“I’ve wanted to play in the Premier League for a while.
“Chelsea are one of the greatest clubs of the world so there are many factors that make you take a decision like this.” (express.co.uk
Gerrard admits not knowing Suarez’s injury status
STEVEN GERRARD admits he has not spoken to Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez ahead of England’s crunch World Cup clash with Uruguay on Thursday (8pm).
Gerrard and Suarez are close at Anfield where the pair came close to landing the Premier League title last season.
But despite being friends on and off the pitch, Gerrard has revealed he is none the wiser as to the fitness of the Uruguay hitman.
Suarez did not feature during his country’s 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica on Saturday, but could be fit to return against England.
“I’m not sure where Suarez is up to injury-wise, I haven’t heard from him, but I expect him to play some part because he’s been so quiet,” Gerrard said. The Reds captain was surprised to see Uruguay lose 3-1 to Costa Rica in their Group D opener and believes England can cause them “big problems”.
“I was shocked by the result,” he said. “I expected Uruguay to beat Costa Rica.
“They (Uruguay) have really good firepower up front but we saw on Saturday that they are certainly beatable.
“They concede goals and if we attack like we did against Italy we will cause Uruguay big, big problems.”
But Roy Hodgson’s men must heed the lessons from their own defensive shortcomings against Italy if they are to keep Suarez at bay, according to Gerrard.
“The key is to look back on what’s happened, see what we got right but also see where we went wrong,” he added.
“We conceded two goals and we have to look at them. They created problems for us on our left side on a few occasions and we will have to look at that.
“I’ve got to try to pick these lads up and we go against Uruguay.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down as quickly as possible and bounce back. We’ve got two big games and if we take six points we are going through.” (express.co.uk)
Border war brews as Argentina invades Brazil for World Cup matches
Rio de Janeiro residents are used to invading tourists, after all this beachfront city is known for the sultry samba beat that lures revelers to some of the world’s best parties during Carnival and on New Year’s Eve.
Brazilians in the 12 host cities of FIFA’s 2014 World Cup have opened their arms wide for the thousands of fans visiting from around the world to watch the world’s biggest soccer tournament. Global soccer fans have praised the welcoming attitude of locals, despite travel delays at airports and the lack of menus in English and Spanish.
But much of that hospitality hinges on the fact that most Brazilians don’t think the teams many of the visiting fans cheer for have a snowball’s chance in, well, steamy Brazil of winning the World Cup. Brazil is aiming for an unprecedented sixth World Cup title on its home turf, with the national team known as the “Seleção” only scheduled to make an appearance at Rio’s iconic Maracana stadium if it makes the final match.
The first signs of something sinister bubbling under the surface came Sunday morning at my local farmer’s market in the beachfront neighborhood of Copacabana, which is at the center of the FIFA festivities. The market was more crowded than usual as tourists joined locals snapping up fresh fish, fruits and vegetables at the weekly gathering. But the center of the plaza was dominated by shirts covered in light-blue and white stripes.
“I’m Brazilian, filled with pride and love,” the Argentines sang somewhat sarcastically, both honoring and taunting their hosts. After a few friendly insults back and forth, the group formed a quasi-Carnival parade and made their way to the beach, where a giant screen had been installed to show the World Cup matches.
Perhaps no two countries have their national identites linked to the performance of their soccer teams than Argentina and Brazil, creating a rivalry that fosters respect, admiration and a good measure of dirty jokes about each other. But both Argentina and Brazil, one-time darlings of global investors, have fallen on hard times and could use a fresh World Cup victory to lift their spirits.
Argentina is a two-time World Cup winner and the birthplace of Diego Maradona, who some believe rivals Brazilian sensation Pele in notoriety if not skill. Lionel Messi
, the Argentine team’s star and arguably the world’s best current player, must shake off lackluster performances in earlier tournaments to lead Argentina.
Brazil, meanwhile, pins its hopes for a new title on 22-year-old striker Neymar
, Messi’s teammate at Spanish club Barcelona. Neymar called his two-goal World Cup debut “a dream come true,” but real success will be making the dreams of millions of Brazilians come true—perhaps at the expense of Argentina.
Sunday’s early morning party eventually made its way to Rio’s Metro, where thousands of Argentines filled the trains headed for Maracana. The raucous crowd threatened to rock the subway trains right off their tracks, hopping, whooping and singing their way to the stadium.
At the stadium, Argentina set up a home base at Maracana to cheer “Los Hermanos” to a 2-1 victory over a plucky team from Bosnia-Herzegovina. All the while the song continued: “I’m Brazilian, filled with pride and love.”
The wanton display should send a shiver up the spines of Brazilians everywhere. (Forbes)
Southampton appoints Koeman as new manager
Southampton has appointed Ronald Koeman as their new manager.
The former Netherlands international has agreed a three-year deal to replace Mauricio Pochettino who took over at Tottenham last month.
Koeman, 51, resigned from his job at Feyenoord in May after guiding the club to second place in the Eredivisie.
“Southampton has a talented first-team squad, a world-class academy and the infrastructure to sustain success in the Premier League,” said Koeman.
“From my very first meeting with Les Reed [executive director], I could see clearly that this was the right club for me. We share the same philosophy of football and the same belief in how to develop the club.
“The opportunity to continue the development of this famous football club was simply too good to turn down. I cannot wait to get started.”
His brother Erwin has been appointed as assistant after he left his coaching role at RKC Waalwijk.
The pair will be joined by Jan Kluitenberg, who takes up the role of assistant first team coach/physical coach. Kluitenberg worked with Koeman at Vitesse Arnhem, Benfica, AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord.
The trio will be assisted by Saints’ existing first-team support staff, while the club will be recruiting a high-level goalkeeping coach in the near future.
Koeman already has a list of players he would like to bring to St Mary’s, with BBC Radio Solent reporting Feyenoord midfielder Lex Immers, 28, as his top transfer target.
However, keeping players at the club will be one of his immediate challenges, with England pair Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana the subject of interest elsewhere. (BBC Sport)
Kaymer lands title after ‘toughest day’ of golf
Martin Kaymer came through his “toughest day” of golf to become the first German to win the US Open.
The 29-year-old beat Americans Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton to win by eight shots at Pinehurst on Sunday.
Kaymer, whose first major win came at the 2010 PGA Championship, posted a nine-under total of 271, the second lowest ever at the event.
“I would say it was probably the toughest day that I have played golf,” said the Dusseldorf-born player.
“If you have Americans chasing you, it’s never easy being a foreigner.”
Kaymer, who received a standing ovation as he walked along the 18th fairway on the final day, added: “To win one major is already very nice in your career, but to win two, it means a lot more.
“Even though I don’t feel like I need to prove anything to a lot of people, somehow it’s quite satisfying to have two under your belt. I played really, really well on Thursday and Friday and that gave me a really nice cushion.”
Kaymer built the joint-biggest halfway lead at a US Open by shooting back-to-back scores of 65 on the par 70 course which averaged more than 73 strokes during four days.
Kaymer, world number one in 2011, was outside the top 60 earlier this year, but his win at the Players Championship and success at Pinehurst are likely to secure a place just outside the top 10.
He now looks certain to achieve his season’s goal of winning selection for Europe’s Ryder Cup team and will be among the favourites for next month’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
With his compatriot and mentor Bernhard Langer having won the Masters twice, the Open is the only major championship yet to have been won by a German.
“Winning the PGA, winning this one now, I hope it will make Bernhard proud. I’m sure it will make all Germany proud,” said Kaymer
Since the world rankings began in 1986, only five players have won two majors and been ranked number one before turning 30 – Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Seve Ballesteros and Martin Kaymer. (BBC Sport)