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Chelsea fine Costa 100,000 euros over behaviour
Editorial

Chelsea fine Costa 100,000 euros over behaviour

Chinese money invested in football has been enough to turn a number of footballers' heads, but Diego Costa has since paid Chelsea 100,000 euros for his behaviour amid rumours of an offer to move East.

A supposed 'peace meal' had been scheduled on Thursday for coach Antonio Conte and the Chelsea squad to bear witness an end to the ongoing saga between coach and player, but Conte suspended the evening after coming down with a cold.

As a result, the peace offering with all squad members to witness will hang in suspense until the reschedule, but what's certain is that Costa will remain with the London club for the remainder of the season, as Chelsea set their sights on the Premier League title.

Firmly in ascendency, few clubs have failed to win the Premier League title after being in Chelsea's current position, and the club themselves have won the league on each occasion of topping the table at Christmas.

Zidane: Cristiano Ronaldo? I also played badly sometimes

After two straight defeats to put their 40-game unbeaten record firmly in the past, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane appeared at the pre-match press conference prior to the Malaga game and immediately went on the front foot when the line of questioning appeared veered towards Cristiano Ronaldo's lack of form, Zidane suggesting that he too played badly for Los Blancos at times.

Losing to Los Boquerones isn't an option for Real but the coach also took time to reassure everyone that there was no pressure being felt in the dressing room.

"Cristiano is always going to attract criticism when he does not play well," he began.

"He makes a difference for this team and sometimes, if he's in a different position for example, maybe he won't play as well.

"It happened to me, and the important thing is to keep working."

Getting straight back down to training and identifying where things have gone wrong in the last two games is something the entire first-team squad have been keen to do.

"The good thing is that we have already started working again after the two defeats," Zidane continued.

With Dani Carvajal out for a month, Danilo will deputise, and the Frenchman is unhappy about the reaction to the player's inclusion in the side.

"The situation with Danilo is unfair," he said.

"Not so much with the supporters, but what is written about him.

"He is a professional who always delivers, and who can do better, of course, like everyone else.

"It's a joy to see him train every day and I'm 1,000% with Danilo, he's a player that I love."

Rather than feeling the strain, Zidane is thriving on the pressure he finds himself under.

"There is no such thing as one can't fail anymore," he noted.

"Let's leave this streak behind, with conviction.

"The pressure I have was already here when I signed and I'll always have it, until the last day I'm here.

"It makes me grow stronger every day. "

Injured Iniesta ruled out of Barcelona trip to Eibar

Barcelona will be without influential captain Andres Iniesta due to a calf strain for Sunday's trip to Eibar in La Liga, the Spanish champions said on Friday.

The Spain midfielder was taken off at halftime in Thursday's King's Cup quarter-final first-leg win at Real Sociedad.

Iniesta, 32, is Barcelona's most decorated player alongside Lionel Messi but injuries have limited him to only six league starts this season. Barca have dropped points in five of the 12 games he has not started.

Barcelona midfielder Rafinha has also been ruled out of the trip to Eibar through injury while defender Javier Mascherano is suspended.

Luis Enrique's side are third in the standings, two points behind leaders Real Madrid but have played one game more than Zinedine Zidane's team.

Di Maria: I'd prefer to stay at PSG than move to China

Despite the lucrative offers luring football stars away from Europe to China, Angel Di Maria has said that he would rather see out his contract with Paris Saint German before moving East.

Speaking to ESPN Argentina, the 28-year-old stated his loyalty to the French club.

"Everyone has their way of thinking, but I do not relish the amount of money paid in China," said Di Maria.

"I'd rather stay in Paris. I have two years left on my contract and I plan on seeing it through to the end."

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid winger has enjoyed his time in the French capital since joining, but the winter signing of Julian Draxler threatens Di Maria's starting spot under coach Unai Emery.

German international Draxler scored on his debut last Saturday, a goal that proved to be the winner, as Di Maria watched from the sidelines before being introduced as a substitute 15 minutes before time.

Dybala to earn 5 million euros per season

Paulo Dybala is about to renew with Juventus, and a new contract will see the Argentine striker earn 5 million euros per season according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Dybala's agent Pierpaolo Triulzi arrived in Turin to jumpstart negotiations on Thursday and only secondary concerns are left before the agreement is made public.

Gonzalo Higuain is currently the highest paid Juventus player with a 7.5 million euro deal and is set to continue as top earner despite Dybala's new contract.

West Ham sign Portugal defender Fonte from Southampton

West Ham United have captured Portugal's Euro 2016 winner Jose Fonte from Southampton on a 2-1/2-year contract for eight million pounds, the London club said on Friday.

The central defender, who has the option to sign for another season, had not featured for Southampton since handing in a transfer request earlier this month.

The south-coast club claimed he had repeatedly rejected improved terms but Fonte, who had 18 months left on his deal, countered that he had not been offered a new contract.

He moved to Crystal Palace from Benfica in 2007 and joined Southampton in 2010, making 288 appearances, including 154 in the Premier League. He was captain for the past 3-1/2 seasons.

Fonte, who has family in London, said the size of West Ham and their passionate fans attracted him to the club along with the fact that manager Slaven Bilic was keen to sign him.

"The manager was... a very big influence. I thought that he really wanted me and that he sold me the project and the ambition of the club," he told the club website (www.whufc.com).

"I also have part of my family living in London and they are big West Ham fans. It just made sense for me at this stage to join West Ham. It is a new challenge and a new beginning..."

Fonte will not be available for Saturday's league game at Middlesbrough but could make his debut for West Ham when Manchester City visit the London Stadium on Feb. 1.

Gerrard to return to Liverpool as Academy coach

Liverpool's former captain and talisman Steven Gerrard will return to his roots as part of the Academy's coaching set-up, the Premier League club announced on Friday.

Gerrard, who made 710 appearances for his boyhood club during 17 years at Anfield, will begin his new role in February.

"It feels like completing the circle; returning to the place where professionally it all began," the 36-year-old told the club's website (www.liverpoolfc.com).

"However, this isn't a decision based on emotion - it's about what I can offer and contribute to Liverpool."

Gerrard ended his playing career in November when he announced his retirement a week after confirming he would not be returning to play for MLS side LA Galaxy.

A return to Liverpool in some capacity has always been on the cards and news that he will be working with the club's youngsters will be welcomed by the fans who idolised him.

He will work under Academy manager Alex Inglethorpe at the club's Kirkby complex.

"I don't think I need to explain to people what this football club means to me," said Gerrard, who famously led Liverpool to an unlikely Champions League final win over Milan in 2005.

"When I knew coming back was a serious option I wanted to make sure it was a substantive role and a role in which I could really help the organisation.

"Meeting with Alex Inglethorpe, seeing the work they are currently doing and want to do in the future at Kirkby, it just felt right. The right option at the right time."

Gerrard, talked about as a future Liverpool manager, scored 186 goals for the club, winning two FA Cups, three League Cups as well as the Champions League.

He was also capped 114 times for England, 40 as captain.

Inglethorpe welcomed the appointment.

"If I was to pick one individual who embodies the characteristics and values we are looking to instil into our organisation at Kirkby, it would be Steven Gerrard," he said.

"For him to have been so enthusiastic about being part of what we are looking to do is simply great news for everyone connected to the club."

Ravanelli: Managing Middlesbrough is my dream

Former Italy striker Fabrizio Ravanelli says he has a dream that one day he might return to the Premier League as manager of Middlesbrough.

"My dream is to come back to Middlesbrough as manager. This is my dream. Honestly...I love Middlesbrough," the silver-haired Italian told Sky Sports television on Friday.

Now 48, Ravanelli was a star signing of the 1996-97 season and the 'White Feather' made an immediate impact at the North-East club with a hat-trick against Liverpool on his debut.

He left for Olympique Marseille when Middlesbrough were relegated at the end of the season despite his 17 goals in 35 appearances.

The Teessiders still retain a special place in his heart however, even if he has expressed a similar desire to manage some of his other past clubs.

"Middlesbrough for me is a fantastic experience," he said. "My first game with Liverpool, 3-3, I did the hat-trick. It was a fantastic day for me. I remember this game very, very well.

"Middlesbrough fans are very passionate for football... you look in the eyes of the fans and see the passion for football."

Ravanelli, who joined the Juventus coaching staff after hanging up his boots as a player and had a short spell with Ajaccio in French Ligue 1 in 2013 before being sacked, said he was "ready 100 percent".

The Italian, who also played for England's Derby County and Scottish side Dundee in a much-travelled career that included stints at six Italian clubs, recognised, however, that current manager Aitor Karanka was doing a good job.

The Spaniard brought Middlesbrough back to the Premier League last year after they had spent 11 seasons in the second tier, and appears to be in no immediate danger despite the side being 16th.

The only club yet to score or concede a goal in the Premier League since the New Year host 12th placed West Ham United at the Riverside on Saturday.

"Karanka is a fantastic manager," said Ravanelli. "One day, I don't know why, when Karanka leaves Middlesbrough, (maybe) Steve calls me".

Steve Gibson, the club's owner, saved Middlesbrough from liquidation in 1986 and transformed their fortunes with the departure from Ayresome Park in 1995 for the 33,000 seat Riverside.

 

 

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