Manchester United target Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed he was subject to an approach from former club AC Milan last summer.Ibrahimovic, 34, spent two seasons with Milan before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.Despite becoming the French club’s all-time record goalscorer, Ibrahimovic has been constantly linked with a move away from the Parc des Princes, with United keen on acquiring his services.However, Ibrahimovic says he was tempted by a move back to the San Siro but a deal between the two clubs never materialised.“I have wonderful memories, Italy is my second home. If it had been up to me, I would not have left Milan, it’s the biggest club for which I played”, Ibrahimovic told Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport.“Last summer, there was a concrete offer from Milan. If I had given my consent, this would be done. But we never got to come to an agreement.” 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
1 Axel Witsel AC Milan have stepped up their interest in Tottenham target Axel Witsel, according to reports in Italy.Spurs tried to sign the midfielder last summer but were warned off by Zenit St Petersburg, who put an extortionate £73m price tag on his head.However, Corriere dello Sport understands the Belgian will be available for around £21m next summer and AC Milan are now the favourites to secure the 26-year-old’s signature.Much will depend on Witsel’s performances at next summer’s European Championships, with Milan expected to hold off on any bid until after the tournament.Spurs are monitoring the situation and may come in with a counter offer if Milan make a concrete bid.
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta hailed compatriot Willy Caballero as “the hero of the day” after his three penalty saves in the Capital One Cup final.Caballero played in every round of the competition before the final but there were calls for first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart to start against Liverpool at Wembley.But Caballero was given the nod by manager Manuel Pellegrini and Zabaleta was delighted to see his team-mate receive the plaudits after he saved spot-kicks from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to seal a second League Cup triumph in three years for City.“He [Caballero] was the hero of the day,” said Zabaleta.“I’m so pleased for him. He’s been here for nearly two years and it’s been tough. He knows there’s some moments when he’s not been playing too much.“We understand that Joe Hart is the first choice but it’s one of those moments where you have to keep working hard and the moment came today for Willy.” Willy Caballero celebrates winning the League Cup final 1
Sergio Aguero failed to find the net at the Etihad 2 2 Manchester City lost defenders Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi to injury as they limped into the Champions League quarter-finals after a dull goalless draw against Dynamo Kiev.City should have been celebrating securing a place in the last eight for the first time but by full-time at the Etihad Stadium the mood seemed rather sombre, as the implications of the injuries sank in.The loss of Kompany, with a tricky run-in ahead, could be particularly galling – although on this occasion his team-mates coped well enough without him to ensure progress courtesy of last-month’s 3-1 win in Ukraine.Their night could hardly have got off to a worse start as Kompany pulled up yet again attempting an early clearance. He immediately slumped to the ground and the groan around the stadium was audible.The Belgian’s body language suggested the problem was serious and with just six minutes of the game gone he was limping off. Initial reports suggested he had suffered a calf injury and, if confirmed, it would be the 13th such problem since the start of the 2011-12 campaign and his fourth this season.His importance to City in terms of influence and defensive ability cannot be understated – and the concerns with a derby against Manchester United coming up were obvious – and the problem was immediately compounded by an injury to Otamendi.The Argentinian was hurt in a hefty challenge from Vitaliy Buyalskiy and his attempts to run off the knock – after being booked for re-entering the field without the referee’s permission – proved unsuccessful. After aggravating the problem hitting a long ball he was removed and, with just 23 minutes gone, City had an all-changed centre-back partnership of Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis.The disruption robbed City of any vitality and their first-half performance was one of the worst served up at Eastlands all season.City woke up a bit after the break with Toure coming to the fore. He curled a free-kick over and then teed up Aguero and Navas, who shot across goal and hit the foot of the post respectively. He had another chance himself but picked out goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy while, at the other end, Yarmolenko shot straight at Hart.Yarmolenko had a penalty appeal turned down and Hart saved from Olexandr Yakovenko as Kiev rallied late on but it hardly made the game much of a contest. City had done their job, albeit at a cost. Elsewhere, talkSPORT2’s live commentary game between Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven went to extra time as the Spanish side came through a tense penalty shoot-out to advance to the last eight.Following a goalless draw in Holland last month, neither side could find a way through in an entertaining 120 minutes at the Vicente Calderon either, although Jurgen Locadia and Fernando Torres both hit the post at either end in an open contest.Players from both teams managed to find the net with regularity during the spot-kicks, though, until PSV substitute Luciano Narsingh rattled the 15th attempt against the crossbar, allowing Juanfran to convert his penalty and send the 2014 finalists through.You can listen to live coverage of the Champions League clash between Bayern Munich and Juventus on Wednesday on talkSPORT 2. For details of how to retune your radio, click here
Benitez’s future at Newcastle will be decided in the coming weeks 1 Newcastle United will pull out all the stops to convince Rafa Benitez to remain at the club even if they are relegated this season.Benitez, who took over from Steve McClaren in March, has a clause written into his contract that he can leave if the club drop into the Championship this summer.Newcastle board member Bob Moncur has approached the Spaniard for assurances he is willing to remain at St James’ Park beyond the summer, according to The Telegraph.The former Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss has, however, made it clear is not willing to discuss his future before the end of the season.If he were to stay, Benitez wants assurances that he would be in sole charge of recruiting players, a demand that would most likely lead to departure of chief scout Graham Carr.And owner Mike Ashley will need to be able to offer Benitezz the required transfer funds to re-shape the playing squad. The size of the project on Tyneside is understood to excite the manager, but he remains hugely reluctant to drop down into the lower tiers of English football, so soon after managing Real Madrid.
Coral’s Dave Stevens joins the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to round up the latest sporting odds.England started their preparations for Euro 2016 with a 2-1 win over Turkey at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday and the Three Lions are 17/2 fourth favourites to lift the trophy this summer.Manchester United, meanwhile, are set to appoint Jose Mourinho as their new manager and news of the Special One’s impending arrival has seen the Red Devils backed into 6/1 to win the Premier League next season.United’s rivals City, however, are the 15/8 favourites to clinch the 2016/17 title with Pep Guardiola incoming.Coral is the official betting partner of the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast
1 Wales play Northern Ireland on Saturday Wales manager Chris Coleman expects to face a resilient Northern Ireland in their Battle of Britain at Euro 2016.The pair were thrown together for a last 16 tie when the Republic of Ireland pulled off a shock 1-0 victory over Italy to reach the same stage of the competition.Robbie Brady’s late header changed the dynamics of the second round draw as Turkey, who had been expected to play Group B winners Wales, were eliminated.Northern Ireland, one of the four best third-placed teams, had been lined up to play against hosts France, but instead will now provide opposition for Wales at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Saturday evening.Coleman said: “Northern Ireland are more physical than Turkey.“They get the ball forward quicker. That’s where their strength is.“They are superbly organised and defensively so difficult to break down.“They are excellent from set plays.”Coleman said the camp were back in game mode after celebrating the 3-0 victory over Russia, which confirmed them as finishing above England to win their group.The squad had a barbecue with family and friends in Toulouse before heading back to their Brittany base.Coleman also said the players ended their booze ban by celebrating victory with a couple of beers after the game.“It was great as we had not had a beer since we had been in camp,” said Coleman.“Some of the senior players came to me in the dressing room as we had one can of beer each in the dressing room.“They came to be and said ‘can we have one beer back at the hotel? Then we will call it a night as we are playing on Saturday’.“I didn’t have to say ‘don’t be stupid’ or anything. They took care of that.“Then it was a great atmosphere at the hotel, all the kids were there. We all needed it.“The chefs did the food. I don’t trust any of us! I have done a few BBQs myself in my garden, but I am not sure I could give the type of burgers I dish up to our lads.”
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ Mandate that the AOL guy who cheerily informs us “You’ve got mail!” record a depressed version for the numerous times it’s spam. Ease the foreclosure crisis by forcing banks to house a newly homeless person at every teller’s window that remains frustratingly unoccupied. That should at least scare the banks into opening up a few more windows. Give us more disposable income, freshen our breath, clean our gum-ravaged streets and reduce dependency on gum by demanding that the gum we are chewing get more mileage to the chew before losing its flavor. Reduce the life spans of those who shun walking a measly flight of stairs, while minimizing the stress and annoyance of elevator-interruptus, with mandatory jail time for one-floor riders. Mandate “failed date insurance.” It’s time the credit-card companies wiped off the restaurant bill that comes a month after the woman you were trying to woo over dinner never speaks to you again. In these cases, the restaurant didn’t work. As the presidential candidates run full steam ahead, many of us forget that some of that hot air comes in the form of assurances that are reflective of campaigning, not governing. A la Charlie Brown, we come leaping toward them every four years, only to watch them ultimately pull back on their pledges as predictably as Lucy pulls back the football. But we might as well enjoy the campaigning phase while we can. We’ve got them where we want them. After all, they’re still courting us. Plenty of time for the bloom to fall off the rose once we get into bed with them. So here’s my own personal wish list of issues they’ll never be able to affect, but it would be nice to hear them promise to try: Reduce the deficit and improve America’s deteriorating communication skills by promising to tax people every time they use the word “like,” except when used to connote desire or lack of desire, or replacing “akin to.” For example: “Like most Americans, I, like, don’t like being taxed.” The middle “like” would be taxed. The first and last “likes” wouldn’t be taxed. True, some people might be uninsurable, because of their dating histories. Credit-card companies could easily monitor all of this. If the restaurants on the bill are always fancy, that’s a red flag right there – signifying a lot of first dates, when you’re still trying to impress her. Declare germ warfare by encouraging bowing vs. hand shaking. Sign a bowing measure into law – and bow on it. If you still feel the need to press the flesh on the campaign trail, you can always try wringing the necks of your opponents. That might get my vote. Andy Cowan is a writer, producer and performer. His credits include “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.” Contact him through his Web site, anthrosop.tripod.com/hitchindemo/.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
This was bound to happen sooner or later. It was a surprise that UCLA hadn’t stumbled earlier. But the injury bug that has plagued UCLA all season finally took its toll on the Bruins, as they squandered a 15-point first-half lead and Washington did whatever it wanted inside to post a 69-65 win on Saturday in front of 10,232 at Pauley Pavilion. In what has become typical fashion, UCLA lost another player to an injury, this time forward Alfred Aboya. The diagnosis is a sprained right knee, the one he had surgery on in July. An MRI was scheduled for Saturday night. The frontcourt is an area in which the Bruins can ill afford another setback, as they’re already too thin at center. And against the Huskies, that lack of depth in the middle showed. “Any time you allow a team to shoot 64 percent and you get outboarded (by six) and turn it over 19 times … it was disappointing,” Howland said. “The five-spot, rebounding wise, we’ve got to get more from that spot.” The UCLA centers combined for four rebounds, although forward Luc Mbah a Moute had a fine game with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Washington took its first lead of the second half on a Jamaal Williams basket inside, something that happened all too frequently, for a 61-60 lead with about three minutes left. On the Huskies’ next possession, Ryan Appleby made a 3-pointer from the top of the arc for a 64-60 lead. Darren Collison made a driving layup for the Bruins to make it a two-point deficit, and thenWashington inexplicably didn’t get a shot off before the shot clock expired. After several missed shots and fouls, Washington’s Bobby Jones made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to make it 66-62. Afflalo, wearing No. 44 because he got blood on his No. 4 jersey (from diving for a loose ball), made a 3-pointer from the right wing to pull the Bruins to within 66-65. Jones made the front end of a one-and-one but missed the second and Afflalo got the rebound. As he pushed the ball upcourt, he passed it to Mbah a Moute in the lane, who was called for traveling. “I thought he was going for the basket,” Mbah a Moute said. “I didn’t think he was going to pass me the ball. I was going for the rebound. I was going too fast, I guess.” Washington’s leading scorer, Brandon Roy, was held to 10 points but it didn’t matter since the frontcourt players had so much success. Jones had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Williams scored 14. Freshman Jon Brockman had 12 points and six rebounds. UCLA freshman Ryan Wright, making his first start at center, had eight points but no rebounds. Center Ryan Hollins played for the first time after missing seven games with a groin injury and had four rebounds and a turnover, along with three fouls. Michael Fey (sprained ankle) was ruled out for the game earlier in the week but unexpectedly suited up. He played just one minute and his only contribution was a turnover. The 7-footer is expected to return to practice this week. Jill Painter, (818) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita No. 11 UCLA (14-3) fell to 4-2 in the Pac-10 Conference but is still in first place by a half-game over four teams. No. 13 Washington (14-2) improved to 3-2 and is one of those four teams tied for second place. As everyone knows, UCLA goes as its guards go. Point guard Jordan Farmar had 12 assists but was held to three points. Arron Afflalo, UCLA’s leading scorer, had 16 points. “I think we just missed a lot of open shots,” Afflalo said. “I was 6 for 15 and Jordan was 1 for 7. We get the bulk of the shots on this team, and if we don’t knock down the open shots, we’re not going to win too much.” UCLA freshman guard Michael Roll had 14 of his 17 points in the first half. He made 5 of 6 3-pointers – mostly on open looks off screens – but just one in the second half. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar pointed to the Huskies’ improved ball-screen defense in the second half. UCLA’s defense was worse. The Bruins allowed the Huskies to shoot 64 percent from the field in the second half, much to Ben Howland’s chagrin.