Football news

I never thought of leaving - Sergio

Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio claimed that he never had any doubts about committing his future to the club despite leaving it until the last minute to sign a new deal.

The Brazilian's rise to prominence has been an unlikely one having long been the third choice keeper at Roma since his arrival in the Italian capital in 2006.

And having finally nailed down a first team spot in the fourth and final year of his contract, Sergio waited until the end of the season to sign on for an extra three years.

"I never thought about leaving. Even if I signed at the last minute I never thought of going," he said.

Sergio got his chance early on last season when first choice keeper Doni was injured and back-up Artur was in poor form.

Wenger expects injured duo back

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson are struggling with groin injuries but he expects the Gunners duo back in action soon.

Denmark striker Bendtner and Brazilian midfielder Denilson did not travel to Arsenal's training camp in Austria as a result of their injuries.

But Wenger is hopeful the pair will be back in action before the start of their Premier League campaign at Liverpool on August 15.

Wenger said: "Bendtner has a groin injury and Denilson has a groin problem as well.

"The injuries do not look big but at the moment they cannot fulfil full training sessions. They will be one week behind the rest of the squad."

Pompey allowed to sign players

Championship club Portsmouth have been given special dispensation to sign three players despite being under a transfer embargo.

Portsmouth have been in administration with debts of over £130m since last season and new manager Steve Cotterill, who replaced Avram Grant after his move to West Ham, has not been allowed to bring in new players until an appeal is heard against the embargo.

But, with the club now three players below the minimum squad size of 20, the Football League have agreed to lift the ban temporarily.

Stoke defender Ibrahima Sonko had already agreed to join the club while goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and trialist defender Stephen Jordan are also wanted by Cotterill.

Westermann explains exit

Hamburg defender Heiko Westermann admitted the constant changes to his position with Schalke convinced him to leave the club.

The Germany international completed his transfer between the Bundesliga clubs last week and is now looking forward to playing in his preferred position in the centre of the defence.

"I had been moving between positions a bit at Schalke," he said.

"Here I will be needed as a central defender.

"HSV is a fantastic club with many great fans in a great stadium and a great city. Everything spoke in favour of coming here."

Totti in trouble over comments

Roma captain Francesco Totti has been called before the Italian Football Federation's (FIGC) disciplinary authorities over comments he made about referees last week.

Speaking to the press Totti said Roma had been robbed of two Serie A titles.

The FIGC website said the action had been taken because Totti had "expressed judgments and prejudicial opinions against the reputation and credibility of the referees, the federal institutions as a whole and of a member club of FIGC."

Totti had suggested that Inter benefited from controversial decisions that led to them winning the titles in 2007/08 and last season in which Roma had pushed them to the final game of the campaign.

Bon Jovi donates tickets to fans

US rocker Jon Bon Jovi will donate seats to fans as part of his association with new Australian A-League football club Melbourne Heart this season.

Lifelong sports fan Bon Jovi has taken on the role as the club's number one international ticket holder and in a gesture has purchased four premium memberships and will donate seats for each home game to football fans.

Bon Jovi, whose band is touring Australia in December, was until recently the owner of American professional indoor football team Philadelphia Soul and is keen to help out the Heart in their inaugural season, starting on August 5.

Grella can leave if price is right

Manager Sam Allardyce said Australian international midfielder Vince Grella could leave Blackburn Rovers if the price is right.

Allardyce, in Australia with Rovers for a four-team pre-season tournament, said he was happy with his squad and would not be looking to sell.

However, he did not completely rule out losing Grella in particular if "the price is right".

Grella was linked with a move to join fellow Socceroos, Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill, at Turkish club Galatasaray, but Allardyce said talks fell through.

"It depends like anything, Blackburn Rovers will ultimately sell anybody if the price is right because we're a selling football club," Allardyce said.


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