Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
Arsenal signs Suker to replace Anelka, targets Henry
Posted: Tuesday August 03, 1999 04:01 AM
LONDON (Reuters) -- Arsenal signed Croatia striker Davor Suker, top scorer at the 1998 World Cup, from Real Madrid on Monday as France's Nicolas Anelka headed in the opposite direction for around seven times as much.
The English Premier League runners-up, who reportedly paid $5.67 million for the Croat, introduced their signing at a news conference.
"During the World Cup he was outstanding for me ... it was a demonstration of how a striker should play because everything he did was intelligent," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who defined Suker as a "real team player."
Suker, believed to have signed a four-year deal, was released by the Spanish giants in May after falling out with coach John Toshack.
Suker said he had talks with a number of top European clubs but wanted to play in the premier league, which he followed on television in Spain.
"I was very impressed with the atmosphere during Euro 96 and the way the English fans loved the game. I will work hard and play well because I want to score many goals," he said.
Wenger said Suker had taken the rare step of accepting a pay cut to join Arsenal, who play in the Champions League this season.
The manager added that Arsenal were still chasing French striker Thierry Henry from Juventus, but there was disagreement between the clubs on the price.
Suker has been in Spain since 1991, first with Seville and then the last three years with Real. He said he was not the only Real player to fall out with Toshack but was not thinking about those problems any more.
"The Davor deal was independent from the Anelka deal," Wenger said, giving no financial details but saying the Anelka deal was "90 to 95 percent" done.
"The Anelka story for us is over," he said.
Real president Lorenzo Sanz earlier confirmed that the club had agreed a deal for Anelka, who has fallen out with the London club and refused to return to England.
That deal was reported to be worth around $35.30 million over a seven-year period. "The deal is done," said Sanz. "Arsenal have given us the okay via fax and now you can say that Anelka is a Real Madrid player."
The Marca newspaper said Sanz will travel to London on Wednesday to sign what would be by far the most expensive deal in Real's history and the second-largest transfer to date after Italian Christian Vieri's $50 million move from Lazio to Inter Milan.
Wenger insisted that Real would not lose out financially and were getting a good deal.
"I think they got him below market prices," he said.
"He's only 20 years old and if he signs for them for seven years and stays there for five, they will not lose any money when they sell him."
Henry to join Arsenal
French striker Thierry Henry is heading for Arsenal, Juventus director general Luciano Moggi said on Monday in Turin.
"Henry will go to Arsenal," he told reporters when asked to comment on a reported cooling of talks between the two clubs.
"There are not all these differences between bid and offer," he added.
Italian newspapers have reported that Juventus were in talks to sell Henry to the English premier league runners-up for 30 billion lire ($16.52 million).
Juventus, who bought Henry from Monaco six months ago for 20 billion lire, had originally started negotiations to sell the player to Arsenal as part of their aborted attempts to sign fellow Frenchman Nicolas Anelka.
Anelka rejected a move to Turin and is now headed to Real Madrid.
Nottingham Forest signs three
Nottingham Forest manager David Platt signed three Italian Serie A players for his English first division side on Monday.
Veteran Italian defender Moreno Mannini joined a free transfer from Sampdoria while Perugia pair Salvatore Matrecano and Gianluca Petrachi arrived in a 2.4 million pound (US$3.88 million) joint deal.
Platt, a former teammate of Mannini at Sampdoria, described the 36-year-old as "the shrewdest defender I've ever played with."
He has played more than 400 times for Sampdoria in 13 years at the club.
The former England midfielder is not worried about Mannini's age and believes he can play a major role this season in securing Forest's promotion back into the premier league after being relegated last season.
Platt, who played in Serie A with Bari, Juventus and Sampdoria before helping Arsenal to the English Cup and League double in 1997-98, was equally delighted at the capture of defender Matrecano and midfielder Petrachi.
"We are very lucky to have got two players of such experience who are prepared to drop down from serie A into the English first division," Platt said.
Romania uses caution
Romanian first division clubs deployed a record number of ambulances at matches over the weekend following the recent death of a player on the pitch, the newspaper Adevarul reported on Monday.
"Two first division matches were marked by three modern ambulances in attendance and another five had two specially equipped cars," Adevarul said. "We needed a pointless death for normal decisions to be taken."
A third division match between Faur Bucharest and Electroturris Turnu Magurele was cancelled because there was no doctor at the ground.
The improvement in medical services at football matches follows the death last week of Stefan Vrabioru, 23, who collapsed minutes into his debut for Astra Ploiesti against champions Rapid Bucharest. He died on his way to hospital.
Medical officials said Rapid had failed to provide a proper ambulance which might have helped save Vrabioru's life.
An initial autopsy was inconclusive but forensic experts said they were conducting further tests for drugs or viral infection. The test results are to be disclosed on Wednesday.
Red Star Belgrade fans jailed for rioting
In Serbia, eight Red Star Belgrade fans have been jailed for rioting in a Yugoslav first division match on Saturday between Borac Cacak and Red Star Belgrade, the Belgrade daily Sporski Zurnal reported on Monday.
Seven supporters have been sentenced to 30 days imprisonment and one to 40 days after a brawl with local supporters and police on the opening day of the season.
The match between Borac Cacak and Red Star, which ended 2-2, was interrupted twice for over an hour after Belgrade fans invaded the pitch and started a full-scale riot.
More than two dozen people, including several police officers, were injured in the fighting and admitted for treatment in the local hospital.
Hodgson to lead Grasshopers
In Zurich, Roy Hodgson was named coach of Grasshoppers on Monday, just hours after the Swiss club sacked Roger Hegi.
Hodgson is still regarded as a hero in Switzerland for taking the country to the 1994 World Cup finals and the 1996 European championship finals in England. He also coached Neuchatel Xamax from 1990-1992.
Grasshoppers are Switzerland's most successful club with 25 league and 18 Cup titles, but they sacked Hegi after a 2-0 defeat by newly-promoted Yverdon on Saturday to drop to fourth in the league.
Hodgson, who remains hugely popular among Swiss soccer fans, has been unemployed since being sacked by English premier league side Blackburn Rovers last November and a brief four-game stint with Inter Milan at the end of last season.
He has been linked with numerous coaching vacancies and was Soccer Australia's leading candidate to take over from Terry Venables.
Hodgson, who turns 52 next Monday, built his reputation in Sweden where he led Malmo to five consecutive league titles before heading to Switzerland.
His success with the Swiss national side persuaded Inter Milan to offer him one of the biggest club jobs in world soccer.
He coached the Serie A outfit from 1995-1997, taking them to the UEFA Cup final in 1997.
Hodgson returned briefly for a second stint at the San Siro last April when he was appointed technical director until the end of the season.
FIFA to rule on transfer dispute
In Oslo, the Norwegian Football Association said on Monday it expected soccer's governing body FIFA to rule on a transfer dispute between Rosenborg Trondheim and Portugal's Benfica within the next week.
The NFA met Rosenborg director Rune Bratseth and the club's lawyers on Monday after FIFA demanded the immediate return of striker Sigurd Rushfeldt to Benfica or an explanation from Rosenborg over why it had ordered him back to Norway.
Rushfeldt, who has been top scorer in the Norwegian league, had been training with Benfica since early July but was recalled home last week when Rosenborg decided it had waited long enough for a bank guarantee.
The Norwegian champions had received about six million crowns for Rushfeldt and were waiting for a guarantee for a further 24 million crowns (US$3.09 million).
Benfica had until July 31 to deliver the guarantee but failed to do so after Rushfeldt's recall.
Yessaulenko dismisses bribery claims
Spartak Moscow vice-president Grigory Yessaulenko has dismissed bribery accusations leveled against him by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
"I'm not going to react in any way to certain statements by Alex Ferguson in regard to myself and our relations," Yessaulenko was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Itar-TASS on Monday.
"I always had great relations with Alex."
In his autobiography "Managing My Life", Ferguson claimed that Yessaulenko presented him with 40,000 pounds (US$65,000) in cash four years ago during transfer negotiations over Russia international winger Andrei Kanchelskis.
When he tried to return the money later in the company of United chairman Martin Edwards, Ferguson said that Yessaulenko turned nasty, insisting that Kanchelskis should be sold to Everton immediately.
"Before long tempers were lost ... [the agent] screamed at the chairman: 'If you don't transfer him now, you will not be around much longer.'"
Ferguson added: "There was no doubting the seriousness of the threat. The meeting ended shortly afterwards, much to our relief."
Shortly afterwards United sold Kanchelskis to Everton for five million pounds (US$8 million).
Yessaulenko provided his own recollection of the event.
"When in 1995 Andrei Kanchelskis decided to leave Manchester ... I tried to persuade him to stay," he said. "We began negotiations but the MU chiefs did not accept our conditions. Finally, I offered [Kanchelskis] to choose between Middlesbrough and Everton."
Yessaulenko also insisted that he does not make any major decisions for Spartak.
"I'm only responsible for personnel decisions but president and head coach Oleg Romantsev is our policy-maker," he said. "Any player transfer would be impossible without his knowledge."
Meanwhile, the English F.A. is to ask Ferguson to give full details of his encounter with Yessaulenko before passing on the information to FIFA.
Corinthians, Universidad de Chile lead championships
Corinthians lead the Brazilian championship after a 4-1 victory against Botafogo over the weekend, and Universidad de Chile maintains its lead at the top of the Chilean championship over Universidad Catolica.
In Brazil, Corinthians leads the Brazilian championship after a 4-1 victory on Sunday against Botafogo. Goals by Marcio Costa and Luizao in the 28th and 46th minutes gave Corinthians a comfortable lead. Marcelinho completed Corinthians' scoring in the second half with two goals in the 69th and 84th minutes.
Botafogo scored its consolation goal from a penalty by Ze Afonso 13 minutes from the end.
Corinthians also notched four goals last week, against Gama.
Unheralded Coritiba are raising a few eyebrows after beating Inter (RS) 2-0. Sunday's victory lifts Coritiba into second place, behind Corinthians on goal difference.
In Chile, Universidad de Chile beat Santiago Morning 2-1 on Sunday, maintaining its eight-point lead at the top of the league over arch rivals Universidad Catolica.
Universidad de Chile's victory saw it stretch its winning streak to 18 games.
Universidad Catolica came back from 2-0 down to beat Coquimbo 3-2.
In Uruguay, Defensor's 1-0 victory over Frontera Rivera on Sunday takes it to first place in the Clausura (Closing) championship, alongside Liverpool. Defensor's goal was scored by Brazilian player Eliomar in the 36th minute.
Champions Nacional squeezed a 2-1 victory over rivals Rampla Juniors.
In Peru, poor defending rather than strong attacking led to a large number of goals scored in the championship
The largest single number of goals scored in one game was by Union Minas, who thrashed a desperate Municipal 7-0.
The most surprising result was a 3-1 victory by Cienciano against three-time champions Sporting Cristal.
Alianza Lima and Alianza Atletico are tied for first place in the rankings, with Cienciano now in third.
In Paraguay, National team coach Ever Almeida was dismissed Friday by the Paraguayan Soccer Association (APF) due to an "incompatibility of characters between players and the coach," said APF spokesman Guillermo Batilana.
The spokesman added that the "incompatibility was corroborated by the dismal performance of the Paraguayan national team during the recent America's Cup."
Almeida took over the Paraguayan national team following the 1998 World Cup, replacing Brazilian coach Pualo Carpegiani.
Almeida was accused by the team of imposing excessive discipline.
UEFA to announce Euro hosts
The host nation for the 2004 European championships will be announced in Aachen, Germany, on October 12, UEFA said on Monday.
There are three bids: Portugal, Spain and a joint one by Austria and Hungary.
Egypt manager, board resign
Egypt's national soccer manager Mahmoud el-Gohary and the board of the Egyptian Football Association resigned on Monday following the national team's defeat last week in the Confederations Cup Championship in Mexico.
The head of the association Samir Zaher made the announcement after the association had handed its resignation to Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri who heads the Higher Council for Youth and Sports.
eliminated from the championship on Thursday after a 5-1 thrashing at the
hands of Saudi Arabia. Three Egyptian players were sent off in that match.
Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.