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Football news

Torres extends Atletico contract

Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres has signed a one-year contract keeping him in the Spanish capital through to June 2018, the La Liga club said on Wednesday.

“I’m delighted to stay here for another year,” the 33-year-old Torres, who joined Atletico aged 11 and has made 294 appearances for them, told the club website.

After making his first-team debut in 2001, the striker went on to become captain before joining Liverpool in 2007.

Spells with Chelsea and Milan followed before the twice European Championship and 2010 World Cup winner returned to Atletico in 2015.

Watford confirm Taylor tribute

Watford have confirmed Spanish side Real Sociedad will come to Vicarage Road to contest the Graham Taylor Trophy on August 5.

Taylor, who died on January 12 aged 72, had two spells in charge of the Hornets, guiding the Hertfordshire club to runners-up in the top flight in 1982-83 and also the 1984 FA Cup final before then taking them up into the Premier League in 1999.

As well as managing Aston Villa and Wolves, Taylor also had a spell in charge of the England national team.

Ilkay Gundogan working hard

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan is working hard to regain his full fitness and feature in the club’s pre-season programme, the Germany midfielder has said.

The 26-year-old played 16 matches for City before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in December. He returned to light training last month, ahead of his team mates.

“I still have to do a lot of work until I am back but I am ready and working hard. I am in a good way,” he told the club’s website.

“I am just waiting for the team to come back and maybe I am able to join the first bits of every training session - so warm-up stuff, some passing, some tactical stuff. Then hopefully over the next weeks I will be able to join them for the rest of the training sessions and, of course, the games.”

Podolski eyes Asian C.League berth

Germany’s Lukas Podolski has set his sights on helping Vissel Kobe qualify for the Asian Champions League in his maiden J.League season, the World Cup-winning forward said yesterday.

Podolski became the biggest name to arrive in the J.League since Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan joined Cerezo Osaka in 2014 when the 32-year-old signed an estimated $5.3 million deal to make the switch from Galatasaray.

“I don’t feel any pressure because I have had pressure since I started playing football,” Podolski, a member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning team, told a news conference in Kobe.

Leicester say Iborra deal complete

Leicester City said yesterday their signing of Vicente Iborra from Sevilla would be a four-year deal and they had agreed terms, with the fee reported to be in the region of 12 million euros (10.5 million pounds).

Sevilla announced on Tuesday that they had agreed to sell their 29-year-old captain to the 2015-16 Premier League champions.

Iborra has become a firm favourite with fans in southern Spain, making 172 appearances for Sevilla, scoring 30 goals and playing a major part of three successive Europa League triumphs.

N. Ireland achieve highest ranking

Northern Ireland have achieved their highest ever FIFA world ranking of 22nd, though they may still face a daunting task if they reach the play-offs for World Cup qualification.

Four years and 10 months ago Michael O’Neill was three games into his reign when the game’s governing body published standings which saw them plummet to a new low of 129th, below Niger, Turkmenistan and New Caledonia.

In the rankings published yesterday they were 107 places better off, 10 spots above the Netherlands, having beaten both New Zealand and Azerbaijan last month.

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