x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Transfer talk: Ancleotti vague on Angel di Maria rumours; Julio Cesar back to QPR

Carlo Ancelotti would only say 'there is nothing new in the market' in response to rumours that Angel di Maria would be sent to Paris Saint-Germain.

Angel di Maria made appeared in five matches at the 2014 World Cup with Argentina, scoring a round of 16 winner against Switzerland before he was hurt in the quarter-finals against Belgium. Dennis Sabangan / EPA
Angel di Maria made appeared in five matches at the 2014 World Cup with Argentina, scoring a round of 16 winner against Switzerland before he was hurt in the quarter-finals against Belgium. Dennis Sabangan / EPA

Real Madrid

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is expecting Angel Di Maria to begin pre-season training on August 5 and has no information about the Argentina winger leaving for Paris Saint-Germain.

There is nothing new in the market, Ancelotti said when asked about reports Di Maria was set to join the Ligue 1 side for a fee of around EU€70 million (Dh345.2m).

Di Maria finished the World Cup and he is resting, added the Italian. He will return on August 5 to start (training) together with his teammates.

Ancelotti was speaking at a news conference after Real were beaten on penalties by Inter Milan in a pre-season friendly in California on Saturday.

Asked about other possible summer signings following the arrival of Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos, Ancelotti said Real were not looking for another centre forward.

Their France striker Karim Benzema was very reliable and another option would be to use attacking midfielder Isco as a roving centre forward, Ancelotti said.

We are not going to look for another forward because we dont need one, he added.

Real begin their La Liga campaign on the weekend of August 23/24 at home to promoted Cordoba and will be defending their Champions League and Copa del Rey crowns next term.

Queens Park Rangers

Brazil World Cup goalkeeper Julio Cesar has ended his loan spell with Toronto FC and returned to promoted English Premier League side Queens Park Rangers.

The keeper, who started all seven matches for the host nation at the 2014 World Cup, joined the Canadian club in February and made seven league appearances.

“At Toronto FC we aspire to be internationally recognised as a leader in every aspect that involves our football club and to be a consistent contender for championships in North America,” general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement on Friday.

“With this ambitious vision comes the need for acquiring players of great character that leave an impact both on and off the pitch. Julio Cesar is certainly one of those players.”

Harry Redknapp’s QPR secured promotion by beating Derby County 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley in May.

Sporting Lisbon

Lyon’s central defender Naby Sarr has signed for six years with Sporting Lisbon, the Portuguese club announced on Saturday.

Ligue 1 side Lyon said that a EU€1m deal had been agreed with the Portuguese top flight side with an additional EU€1m in performance-related bonuses.

The son of former Senegalese player Boubacar Sarr, the Marseille-born 20-year-old was a member of France’s victorious Under-20 World Cup team in 2013.

The player’s buy-out clause has been set at EU€45m, Sporting said.

Sarr played five matches with Lyon and scored one goal in the Europa League.


Ligue 1 club Bastia have picked up Under-20 world champion goalkeeper Alphonse Areola from Paris Saint-Germain on loan, the Corsican outfit confirmed on Saturday.

The 21-year-old, who won the global honour in 2013 with France, is set to be first-choice keeper for Claude Makelele’s ambitious team after failing to break into Laurent Blanc’s side in the capital.

He was loaned to northern club Lens last season, where he made 36 appearances and helped the team gain promotion, but is now on his way to Bastia for the upcoming season and passed a medical on Saturday.


Sunderland have signed Netherlands defender Patrick van Aanholt from Chelsea.

“The Dutch international has joined the Black Cats on a four-year deal, for an undisclosed fee,” the Premier League club said on Friday in a statement on their website.

The 23-year-old struggled to break into Chelsea’s first team after arriving at Stamford Bridge as a youth team player in 2007 and spent the last two seasons on loan at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.

Capped twice by the Netherlands, he was a member of Louis van Gaal’s provisional 30-man squad for the 2014 World Cup but did not make the final 23 for the tournament finals in Brazil.

He becomes Sunderland’s fourth close-season signing after the arrivals of defender Billy Jones from West Bromwich Albion, midfielder Jordi Gomez from Wigan Athletic and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon from Premier League champions Manchester City.

South Africa

Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba was named coach of South Africa Saturday in succession to sacked Gordon Igesund.

National youth coach Mashaba was not present at the announcement in Soweto as he is in Mali with the Under-20 squad.

“I am thrilled to be given this opportunity and will not disappoint the people of South Africa,” he replied when informed by telephone of his appointment.

South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan urged the public and media to be patient during a media conference.

“We ask for patience from the public and media – let us watch ‘Shakes’ grow into this job.

“His appointment was a unanimous decision by the national executive committee.

The humble 63-year-old former Orlando Pirates defender is a former caretaker coach and permanent coach of Bafana Bafana (The Boys).

He briefly took the reins in 1992 after the initial post-apartheid coach Stanley ‘Screamer’ Tshabalala was fired for hitting a journalist.

Mashaba assumed permanent control in 2002 only to be fired after a row with officials despite plotting a win over Ivory Coast that qualified the team for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mashaba was the choice of the executive committee ahead of Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, who was favoured to take over the struggling national team.

Wage demands may have been a stumbling block with Queiroz, who has reportedly been offered US$2.5m (Dh9.1m) to continue coaching Iran.

Nigerian Stephen Keshi, whose contract was not renewed despite taking his country to the second round of the World Cup in Brazil, was another contender.

South Africa are ranked 14 in Africa and 66 in the world and poor tournament results cost Igesund his job.

Hosts South Africa were eliminated in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals after losing a penalty shootout against Mali.

They also failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, surprisingly finishing second behind lowest seed Ethiopia in a mini-league.

The first task for Mashaba will be to qualify for the 2015 Cup of Nations in Morocco by achieving a top-two finish in a group including Nigeria, Sudan and Republic of the Congo or Rwanda.

Bafana Bafana have never beaten Nigeria in a competitive match and often struggled in the past against the combative Congolese.

South Africa face Sudan (away) and Nigeria (home) in September, Congo or Rwanda away and home in October and Sudan (home) and Nigeria (away) in November.

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