FOOTBALL: Chelsea name Conte as new head coach


Posted at Apr 05 2016 11:04 AM

Italy's head coach Antonio Conte attends a news conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, in this October 9, 2015 file photo. David Mdzinarishvili, Reuters.

Conte handed job of making Chelsea champions again

Mike Collett, Reuters

Italian Antonio Conte was handed the responsibility of reviving Chelsea's fortunes and bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge when he was named as their new head coach on Monday.

Conte, 46, the head coach of Italy, will move to London on a three-year contract after the June 10 - July 10 European Championship in France.

Conte has long been touted as Chelsea's first choice to succeed Jose Mourinho as their next permanent manager following the departure of the Portuguese in December after Chelsea made their worst start to a top flight campaign for more than 30 years.

Dutchman Guus Hiddink has been in charge since Dec. 19 but his second stint as interim coach was never going to last longer than the end of this season.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L), Luis Suarez (C) and Neymar attend a training session prior to "Clasico" match against Real Madrid. Albert Gea, Reuters.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar are not machines, says Luis Enrique

Richard Martin, Reuters

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have scored 107 goals between them this season but after Barcelona's celebrated trio failed to find the net in the defeat by Real Madrid, coach Luis Enrique defended them by declaring "they aren't machines".

Luis Enrique said he was not concerned about the physical state of his all-star attacking line despite their below-par performance in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat.

Although Real halted their 39-game unbeaten run, the 45-year-old coach said he retained full confidence in his side as they prepared to host Atletico Madrid in the first leg of an all-Spanish Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

"They aren't machines, they are the best players in their position but they aren't unbeatable or unsurpassable," Luis Enrique told a news conference on Monday.

"I think all my players are in perfect condition. We had forgotten what it was like to lose but when you do you remember how difficult it is to win and we all hope the defeat serves as a stimulus to win again. Looking at how we have done in the last few months, I'm optimistic."

(READ: Barcelona trying to stay upbeat going into Atletico game)

Barcelona's Neymar looks dejected. Juan Medina, Livepic/Reuters.

Neymar open to 'dream' PSG move - agent

Agence France-Presse

Brazilian superstar Neymar could join Paris Saint Germain, if the French giants pay his huge 193 million euros ($220 million) get out clause, his agent said Monday.

"Neymar has a contract with Barca until 2018," Wayne Ribeiro told French sports daily L'Equipe.

"But the prospect of living in a city like Paris, and to play for a club like PSG is also a dream for every player.

"That's to say if PSG showed interest in Neymar we could talk about it."

PSG have dominated Ligue 1 since the Qatari takeover of the French capital club in 2011.


Bayern wary of a slip-up against 'dangerous' Benfica

Agence France-Presse

Bayern Munich are eager to avoid suffering another Champions League slip-up to Portuguese opposition in the quarter-finals when they host Benfica on Tuesday in the first leg.

Pep Guardiola's Bavarians were humbled 3-1 away to Porto at the same stage of the competition last season in the first leg before roaring back with a 6-1 victory in Munich for a 9-2 aggregate win.

Since Bayern beat last season's finalists Juventus 6-4 on aggregate in the last 16, the German media seem to think their passage into the semi-finals is a foregone conclusion.

But the Bavarians insist on taking nothing for granted before facing the Portuguese league leaders over two legs.

"The game is dangerous. We have to remind ourselves about what we experienced in Porto last year," said Bayern's forward Mario Goezte.


Higuain set for four-game ban - report

Agence France-Presse

Gonzalo Higuain will pay for a moment of madness during Napoli's title-crushing 3-1 defeat to Udinese by serving a four-game Serie A ban, a report in Italy claimed on Monday.

If confirmed, Higuain, the driving force behind Napoli's bid for a first title in 26 years, would miss their two most difficult games, away to Inter Milan and Roma, amid an already challenging run-in for the Azzurri.

Reports earlier on Monday suggested Higuain's violent reaction near the end of a bad-tempered clash at the Stadio Friuli on Sunday would earn him a "minimum" three-game ban.

But a later report on affirmed that "disciplinary chief Gianpaolo Tosel will tomorrow (Tuesday) hand a four-game ban to Higuain and a one-game touchline ban to (Napoli coach Maurizio) Sarri".

Manchester City's Yaya Toure reacts. Phil Noble, Livepic/Reuters.

Toure will leave Man City in June, says agent


Manchester City's midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure will leave the club at the end of the season having not been offered a new contract, his agent said on Monday.

The 32-year-old Ivory Coast international, who was the African Footballer of the Year four times in a row from 2011, joined Premier League City from Barcelona for 24 million pounds ($34.23 million) in July 2010.

Six years ago Toure was sold by Barca boss Pep Guardiola, who will replace Manuel Pellegrini as City's coach when the Spaniard leaves Bayern Munich at the end of this season.

"We have waited too long. Manchester City promised a deal but nothing has materialised so Yaya will leave in June," his agent Dimitri Seluk told Sky Sports television.

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