x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Football round-up: Patrice Evra remains coy on why he left Manchester United for Juventus

Hull City start their Champions League campaign; Fernando Torres wanted at Chelsea; Marseille stay home; Roberto Mancini in the running for Italy; match-fixing ban in Asia.

Former Manchester United player Patrice Evra signed a two-year contract with Juventus earlier this month, bringing to an end an eight-year spell at Old Trafford. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Former Manchester United player Patrice Evra signed a two-year contract with Juventus earlier this month, bringing to an end an eight-year spell at Old Trafford. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

New Juventus defender Patrice Evra is confident he has chosen the right club after leaving Manchester United for undisclosed personal reasons.

Evra signed a two-year contract with Juventus earlier this month, bringing to an end an eight-year spell at Old Trafford.

“I had to leave Manchester for personal reasons,” Evra said Thursday. “Three months before the end of the season I asked my agents to start talking with other clubs. When Juventus came in for me I immediately said it was the right choice.

“For me, Juventus really represents the culture of winning every match. For me, winning every match isn’t pressure, it’s something normal.

“If you’re not ready to accept criticism when you don’t win then you don’t belong at all in a club like Juventus. I had that culture at Manchester and I want to have it too at Juventus, at any cost.”

Juventus paid United £1.2 million (Dh7.4m) but the transfer fee will increase to £1.5m if the Italian club qualifies for the 2015/16 Uefa Champions League.

The club is playing in Europe’s premier club competition again this year, while also targeting a fourth successive Serie A title.

Evra refused to elaborate on why he left United but said he was not let go, that the club wanted to keep him.

“I had to leave for personal reasons,” he said. “Manchester United wanted to make me club captain.

“I also spoke to [Louis] Van Gaal, who was very disappointed I was leaving. It was my choice. It was also difficult for Juventus because [United] really didn’t want me to leave.”

Hull City

English Premier League side Hull City got their 2014/15 season off to a low-key start on Thursday night as they drew their Europa League third-round qualifier first leg 0-0 with AS Trencin in Slovakia.

Hull were heavily fancied to see off their opponents, but were chasing the game for long periods during the first half.

Visiting midfielder Tom Huddlestone saw a second-half penalty saved and then fired the rebound over from close range.

Coach Steve Bruce’s side will still be regarded as favourites to progress to the group stage with next week’s second leg at the KC Stadium.

Chelsea

Jose Mourinho insists Fernando Torres is to remain at Chelsea next season as one of the club’s three strikers.

Torres has been persistently linked with a return to Atletico Madrid this summer after struggling to make an impact at Stamford Bridge since his arrival in 2011.

Instead, the Spaniard must battle it out with new signing Diego Costa and Didier Drogba, who rejoined the Blues last week, for the marksman duties.

When Mourinho was asked if Torres was the player in question when the Portuguese indicated there may be a departure in the transfer window, he told Sky Sports News: “No. Three strikers is fundamental in a squad and we have three strikers – Fernando, ­Didier and Diego – so one of them is not [going] for sure.”

Marseille

Marseille will stay at the newly renovated Stade Velodrome after agreeing on a new three-year deal, ending weeks of conflict.

Club owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus and city mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin announced yesterday they had signed a provisional agreement that will be ratified at a council meeting in October.

Louis-Dreyfus said: “It’s a strong gesture that I have done for the supporters and all the people of Marseille.” Marseille will pay €7.4 million (Dh45.9m) a year in rent.

They had been paying €50,000 euros in recent years, while work was being carried out. The parties have been battling over the price and last week Marseille threatened to play its first home game of the season, against Montpellier on August 17 at their opponent’s ground.

The Velodrome has been home to Marseille since 1937.

Italy

Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has acknowledged he would “come running” if he was offered the chance to coach Italy’s national team.

Mancini, 49, has been out of work since leaving Galatasaray in June and remains among the leading candidates to replace Cesare Prandelli, who stepped down after Italy’s surprise first-round exit from the World Cup.

He told Il Giorno: “It makes me very happy and proud to be in the thoughts of those who love the national team. I’ve always been patriotic, I never forget about Italy even when I’ve been working abroad.

“Who doesn’t dream about coaching their national team? I’d come running. The reality, however, is that for now, no one has called me.”

Celtic

Ronny Deila, the Celtic manager, acknowledged he was disappointed in the lack of “commitment” and “energy” from his players following their crushing 4-1 defeat to Legia Warsaw in the first leg of their third-round Uefa Champions League qualifier.

The Norwegian, who took over from Neil Lennon in charge of the Scottish champions in the summer, said: “It was a very poor performance and worst of all was the commitment, the energy, I need much more energy in the game. We didn’t stay together for 90 minutes.”

The second leg of the tie is Wednesday.

Vietnam

The Asian Football Confederation has upheld and extended the suspension of nine players from Vietnamese club Vissai Ninh Binh for their role in alleged match-fixing.

The Vietnamese Football Federation had provisionally banned the players in May over allegations they had tried to fix an AFC Cup match.

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