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Sporting briefs

Olivera: Fiorentina’s mid-fielder Ruben Olivera was yesterday banned for three matches following his stamp on a rival player’s thigh in a Serie A game at the weekend. Olivera was in the dock after his attack on Roma’s Miralem Pjanic for which he only received a yellow card at the time. The Italian Federation meted out a three match ban for that incident and added a further one match suspension for accumulated yellow cards picked up by Olivera.

Martinez: Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez cut yesterday’s training session short after colliding with team-mate Jerome Boateng but will be fit for their final game of the year against B. M’gladbach on Friday. Martinez underwent treatment at the clinic of team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt.

Stindl: Hanover midfielder Lars Stindl has undergone successful surgery for a ligament injury in his right foot but a return date has not yet been set for the 24-year-old German. Stindl was injured during the 2-2 draw at Spain’s Levante in the Europa League last week and was taken off.

Balotelli: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists Mario Balotelli is not for sale, despite his stern words for the striker after Sunday’s Manchester derby. “Balotelli has enormous quality, he is not for sale,” Mancini said. “He is a player of 22 years old who has the quality to change a game at any time. I hope this moment will come soon.”

Romeu: Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu will be out for six months after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. Spaniard Romeu suffered an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury during the first half of the league match at Sunderland on Saturday, ruling him out of Chelsea’s trip to Japan for the Club World Cup this week.

Evra: Manchester United players cannot afford to blow their six-point lead in the Premier League because manager Alex Ferguson would sack them, according to defender Patrice Evra. “I think Ferguson is going to sack everyone if we did that,” the French left-back was quoted as saying yesterday. “I’m serious. It would not be funny, for the fans, for the players, for everyone.”

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