A round-up of other soccer stories in brief...
Adriano 'to find himself'
ADRIANO’S agent flew into Italy for talks with Inter Milan over the troubled Brazil striker. Adriano is currently in his homeland after announcing he was to take a break from football because he had “lost the joy of playing”.
The player’s representative Gilmar Rinaldi is confident his client will back playing soon. He said: “Adriano is calm and well . . . He just needs two months to find himself. In my view he will not quit football as I have read.”
Presidential backing for US bid
US president Barack Obama has backed the United States’ bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. He has written a letter to Fifa president Sepp Blatter in which he recalls his early ties to football during his childhood.
The president, well known for his love of basketball, also attended a West Ham game at Upton Park in 2003.
“As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighbourhood together,” the president wrote in his letter.
“As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago.”
Obama has also backed the Olympic 2016 bid of his home-town Chicago.
Fifa will make their decision for the 2018 and 2022 finals in December 2010.
Given urges Manchester City fans to be patient
SHAY GIVEN has pleaded for patience as Manchester City desperately bid to stop their season hitting the buffers.
A dismal three days saw them suffer successive 3-1 defeats to Hamburg in the Uefa Cup and then Fulham in the Premier League.
Having slipped six points adrift of West Ham in the battle for seventh spot, City know their most realistic chance of forcing open the door to European football again next season is to mount a successful comeback operation against Martin Jol’s side tomorrow.
The odds are against City, who are attempting to win their first major trophy of any description since 1976, and failure may turn the sporadic booing of manager Mark Hughes during Sunday’s home reverse into full scale mutiny among the Eastlands faithful.
But Given feels it will take time for Hughes to shape his squad the way he wants. “In years to come I think this will be a great club to be involved with . . . But Rome was not built in a day.”
Schuster did not want Ronaldo
FORMER Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has hit out at his old employers for their pursuit of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo.
Schuster, who left the club by mutual consent in December just months after winning the league title in his first season, believes Real did not need to sign Ronaldo but the chase of his signature became “a theme for the club”.
Real were eventually reported to Uefa and Fifa over their relentless courtship of the Portugal winger, but Schuster insists he was never very interested and was upset that other options were not pursued.
“Look, we asked for three or four players if Cristiano didn’t come,” he said. “I understood the club would have to pay an extortionate fee to bring that kid, and they made it clear to me that if he came it would be very difficult to get anyone else. Maybe one more, but at a very low price.
“The thing is we didn’t need Cristiano, that was more a theme the club had going.”
FA cancels Hillsborough tribute
The Football Association has dropped plans for a minute’s applause at this Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives as a result of the Hillsborough disaster after the club and the group that represents families of the victims raised objections.
The FA said that following a “long and extensive” dialogue with Liverpool FC and the Hillsborough Families Support Group, it had been decided that a presentation of flowers by the FA chairman, Lord Triesman, and the captains of Arsenal and Chelsea to 12 representatives from the HFSG would be a more appropriate tribute.
The presentation will be accompanied by a public-address announcement and messages on the big screens at Wembley.
Last night’s other results
Irish League:Premier Division – Ballymena 0 Newry 4; Coleraine 1 Linfield 2; Crusaders 0 Glentoran 1; Glenavon 3 Dungannon Swifts 1; Institute 4 Bangor 0; Lisburn Distillery 1 Cliftonville 1. Division One: Ards 0 Donegal Celtic 2; Ballinamallard Utd (L) Tobermore Utd (L); Ballymoney Utd 0 Loughgall 2; Banbridge Town 2 Ballyclare 0; Coagh Utd 1 Carrick 3; Dergview 1 Larne 5; Portadown 1 Armagh City 0.
LEAGUE OF IRELAND CUP – First round: Athlone Town 3 Longford Town 0; Castlebar Celtic 0 Finn Harps 4; Kerry League 1 Cork City 3; Tullamore 0 UCD 2.
(7.45pm kick-off unless stated)
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE- Arsenal v Villarreal; FC Porto v Man Utd. Blue Square: Premier – Kettering v Crawley Town; North – AFC Telford v Farsley Celtic; Hyde v Southport. Scottish league: Fort William v Brora, Huntly v Deveronvale, Rothes v Inverurie.