Former Argentina captain Diego Maradona has been handed an ambassadorial role by the game’s global governing body FIFA.

“Now it’s official,” the 1986 World Cup winner said on his Facebook page.

“Finally I can fulfill one of the lifelong dreams; to work for a clean and transparent FIFA alongside people who really love football.”

The ex-Boca Juniors, Barce-lona and Napoli forward, 56, was a harsh critic of disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is serving a six-year ban for ethics violations.

FIFA is recovering from the worst graft scandal in its history, with dozens of people  indicted in the US since May 2015.

Zidane hopes Bale is back for Napoli return

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he hopes to have forward Gareth Bale back from an ankle injury before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Napoli on March 7.

The 27-year-old damaged tendons during Real’s 2-1 Champions League victory at Sporting Lisbon in November and underwent surgery in London.

“I hope he will be back before then (March 7),” Zidane told a news conference yesterday.

“He has been working well. He is enthusiastic and the only thing left is for him to train with the rest of the team, which is the most important thing.”

Legal action over Zozulya threats

La Liga has taken legal action against 10 people who allegedly threatened Ukraine international Roman Zozulya following his move to Rayo Vallecano last week, the Spanish league said.

The 27-year-old striker, who was loaned to second division strugglers Rayo from Real Betis, was insulted by fans at his first training session in Vallecas last month and accused of being a neo-Nazi.

He returned to Seville the next day “very affected” and has yet to announce if he will play for Rayo.

When Zozulya joined Betis last summer on a three-year deal from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, a Spanish newspaper reported wrongly that he was wearing the shirt of a far-right paramilitary group.

Hernanes leaves Juventus for China

Juventus midfielder Hernanes has moved to Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune for an initial €8 million.

The Brazil international, 31, joined Juve 18 months ago from their Serie A rivals Inter and last season helped the Bianconeri win the league and cup double.

Hernanes previously played for Lazio in Italy, having started his career at Sao Paulo in his homeland.

The club said: “Juventus can confirm that Hernanes has completed a move to Hebei China Fortune for a fee of €8 million.”

Swansea’s Clement wins manager award

Swansea City boss Paul Clement has welcomed the Barclays manager of the month award by focusing on the battle for Premier League survival.

Clement beat Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur), Ronald Koeman (Everton) and Mark Hughes (Stoke City) to the January award after the Swans won three of their four league games following his appointment at the start of the month.

Victories over Crystal Palace, Liverpool – Swansea’s first-ever league win at Anfield – and Southampton took the Welsh club off the bottom of the table.

“I was a little bit surprised in a good way (to win the award), but I am pleased the impact has been recognised,” Clement said.

“It’s a nice recognition of the work everyone has done in our fight against the drop.”

Welsh FA to appeal poppies sanctions

The Football Association of Wales said it will appeal against the sanctions imposed by FIFA over its commemoration of Remembrance Day during the World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Cardiff on November 12.

The FAW was fined 20,000 Swiss francs (€18,700) by the sport’s governing body on December 19 for the displays of poppies around the stadium.

FIFA interpreted the poppy as a political symbol, but the FAW disputed that at the time and has now indicated it will appeal against the fine imposed.

Caulker’s Lokomotiv move in doubt

QPR defender Steven Caulker’s surprise move to Lokomotiv Moscow is looking increasingly unlikely, Press Association Sport reported yesterday.

Caulker has made 14 appearances for QPR this season but has been in talks with Lokomotiv Moscow about a shock move to the Russian league.

Lokomotiv jumped the gun with several posts on social media suggesting the deal was close to completion last week and on Thursday also posted a Twitter video suggesting the move was ‘cancelled’.

Press Association Sport said that a deal is tentatively still being discussed, although a departure is now looking unlikely.

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