Football news

Leeds sack manager McAllister

Former English champions Leeds United parted company with manager Gary McAllister after the club lost their fifth successive match on Saturday.

Leeds, who play in League One, lost 3-1 at Milton Keynes Dons and fell to ninth in the standings.

"The decision was made to ensure that the new manager, when appointed, has the maximum number of games possible to move the club up the table," the club said.

McAllister replaced Dennis Wise as manager in January and was a former player at the club who were champions of England in 1992 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001.

Benitez set to sign new deal

Rafael Benitez is very close to signing a new contract at Liverpool, the club's chief executive Rick Parry said.

The Spanish manager has been in charge at Liverpool for four-and-a-half years during which time he has won the Champions League and has 18 months of his deal still to run.

Benitez has told his club's American owners he is looking for a contract which will allow him to be part of the long-term future of the Merseyside club and wants assurances over boardroom stability.

Parry said: "He is nearly there. The owners have made a commitment and said they wanted to extend and keep him. Clearly he wants to stay, so yes it will be done."

Donati keen on Milan return

Massimo Donati wants to return to Milan following an unsuccessful spell at Celtic.

The midfielder said the Serie A giants have already been in touch with his representatives about the prospect of bringing him back to Italy.

Milan are likely to seek cover for midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, who is facing up to six months out of action with a knee ligament problem.

Donati, who joined the Scottish champions in 2007, admits he would jump at the chance.

"It is up to the Celtic management to decide - but if Milan asked me to go, I would say yes," he said.

"Italy is my country, and Milan is a big name. It is clear I would like this to happen."

Refs help top teams - Giampaolo

Siena coach Marco Giampaolo is finding it hard to fathom his team's defeat to Inter and reckons referees help the big teams in Italy.

Inter beat Siena 2-1 on Saturday with the winning goal coming from Douglas Maicon who tapped the ball home from a clear offside position.

"I am finding it difficult to accept this defeat, because we were clearly penalised," Giampaolo said.

"It's true we have been praised by everyone for our performance, including Inter, but that's not how you grow and improve.

"The small clubs are congratulated by the big sides, but it is useless because at the end of the day we're the ones who were beaten."

Santa Cruz future in doubt

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce has promised to make a swift decision as to whether striker Roque Santa Cruz will be sold in the January transfer window.

Santa Cruz, 27, told reporters he would leave Ewood Park if a "better club" offered him the chance to improve his form.

"I will sit down and see what the situation is," said Allardyce after Blackburn's 3-0 win over Stoke on Saturday.

"We will deal with it professionally very quickly," added the Rovers boss.

If Allardyce does allow Santa Cruz to leave it is likely the striker could be sold for up to £20m.

Metzelder to undergo surgery

Defender Christoph Metzelder broke his nose during Real Madrid's 1-0 Primera Liga win over Valencia on Saturday and will have an operation today.

"I will be operated on Monday and that means I can only fly home (to Germany) on Tuesday," the Real Madrid player told Reuters ahead of the Christmas break in the Spanish league.

Metzelder said he had twice broken his nose during his spell at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and had played with a face mask to protect it.

FA want Capello to stay on

Football Association (FA) chairman Lord Triesman would be delighted if Fabio Capello extended his stay as England manager. The Italian took up the job a year ago and has revived a squad which failed to reach the 2008 European Championships.

Triesman is confident that Capello will wish to remain with England and sees no reasons why the former Milan and Real Madrid boss would not want to stay.

"Fabio is very clear and specific about what he needs," he said. "What I sense is a very profound level of respect for the way he works and a desire to work alongside him."

"I think it would be great if he stayed beyond the next World Cup. We look as though we are on our way to the World Cup - and if we get there, I think we have got a side which is absolutely brimming with confidence."


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