Football News: Lampard Rules Leicester Out Of Title Race, Inter Milan And Napoli In The Centre Of Homophobic And Racist Abuse Row Plus More

 

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Lampard Rules Leicester Out Of Title Race, Inter Milan And Napoli In The Centre Of Homophobic And Racist Abuse Row Plus More
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1. Lampard dismisses Foxes title chances
Frank Lampard won the Premier League title with Chelsea, before moving to the MLS to join New York City FC, so he has an idea of what it takes to win the league. Right now he is ruling out the chances of his former manager, Claudio Ranieri, leading Leicester City to the title. Despite the Foxes being right up there in second on goal difference to leaders Arsenal, Lampard feels that the title is too much for Leicester to hope for. "I don't think they can [win it], but we've all been saying all season we've been waiting for them to fall," Lampard said about Leicester. "I don't want to sound disrespectful. It is the great story of the Premier League this year. I've worked with Claudio Ranieri, so I'm delighted for him. I think Leicester is a very good club and we should all be happy because it makes the league competitive. It's nice to see a club like Leicester fighting for the title, but I just get the feeling that when push comes to shove, towards the end, it will be between Arsenal and Manchester City. I think they are the two teams that are going to fight it out."

2. Ronaldo admits MLS could be an option
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted he would consider a move to Major League Soccer in the future. Ronaldo is a three time World Player of the Year, his arrival in the US would be arguably bigger than the previous biggest arrival, his former Manchester United team mate David Beckham. "What's happening there is great, it's fantastic, maybe in the future will be a good chance for me to play there. You never know, but it's something interesting," the Portugal captain said in the February issue of GQ. "I consider it, of course, because as I've said, soccer there has become better and better, so why not? I think that this is maybe going to be possible. I know that many players move there. I think it's becoming better and better," said Ronaldo. "It's growing. I think it's good. It's good for me and young players that maybe one day we want to move there. So it's good that football 'soccer' grows there."



3. Martinez escapes FA action over comments
The Football Association has decided not to take action against Everton manager Roberto Martinez after his furious post-match criticism of refereeing decisions in the 3-3 draw with Chelsea. Martinez was angry after the referee played more injury time than expected and that the goalscorer, John Terry, was clearly offside as he scored the last gasp equaliser. Martinez told Sky Sports: "I'm not frustrated. I'm very angry. Top and bottom, we lost this football game because of an horrific decision right at the end. It's clearly offside and it was over the time of seven minutes. If you look at the time of when we conceded, it's well over the time. That's something which is clear cut." The FA decided to take no action as Martinez did not question the referee, Mike Jones' integrity and was not personal in his criticism of the officials.

4. Mancini accuses Sarri of making homophobic and racist comments
Inter Milan gained a 2-0 Coppa Italia win over Napoli, but the game was most notable for a furious touchline row between the two head coaches which erupted in stoppage time with Inter leading by one goal to nil. The argument lead to Inter head coach Roberto Mancini being sent off, missing his side's second goal, and he was clearly still angry when he spoke to RAI television after the match. Mancini hit out at his rival, Mauricio Sarri, accusing him of homophobic and racist insults, though he did not elaborate on the claims. "He should be ashamed, a 60-year-old man behaving in that way" said Mancini. "A man like him should not be involved in football." The row initially started after the fourth official mistakenly indicated that there would be nine minutes of added time, rather than the five he was meant to be showing. Sarri denies Mancini's claims: "This are things which happen on the pitch and should stay on the pitch," said Sarri. "I apologised to Mancini in the dressing room but he didn't accept it because he was still angry."



5. Bognor Regis find novel way to thaw out a frozen pitch
With Altrincham heading to the south coast to face Bognor Regis in an English FA Trophy second round match, the non-league side needed to find a way to thaw their frozen pitch to allow the game to go ahead. With no money to afford undersoil heating at their ground, the club had to come up with another way to get the game underway. In the end six cars were driven on to the pitch in an attempt to make the pitch playable. Altrincham probably wish they had not bothered, as the game was able to go ahead, and they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their opposition.

6. Stokes hopes return will revive his career
Celtic striker Anthony Stokes has returned to former club Hibernian on loan in an attempt to get his career going. Stokes left Hibs back in 2010 to join Celtic, but has fallen out of favour under current boss Ronny Deila, mainly because of disciplinary issues. He has gone back to Scottish Championship side Hibs, who are 3rd, five points behind the leaders Rangers, to try and prove himself. It is unlikely there is anything he can do to force his way into the Euro 2016 reckoning, so the drop down a division is no longer an issue. "Anthony is a fantastic footballer and will really strengthen the squad," says Hibs boss Alan Stubbs. "We have a number of options in attack and real competition for places which is what every manager wants. We are excited about Anthony coming here and I think he will prove to be a real asset."



7. Neymar backed to win Ballon d'Or within 3 years
Former Real Madrid player and coach Jorge Valdano has backed Barcelona star Neymar Jr to get the Ballon d'Or trophy within three years. Neymar was third in last year's voting, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but Valdano has backed the Barca star to be the winner sooner rather than later. "It was interesting to see him as just an observer at the [2015] Ballon d'Or," Valdano told Mexican newspaper Record. "Within three years we will see him on the stage lifting the trophy and doing a handstand. Neymar is increasingly dominating every year. The first season he was just a servant of Messi, but in second he turned into his partner and now he has all the liberties because he feels like he's the best. He projects the image of someone who is happy, on the pitch he prolongs this state of bliss. His football is enjoyed. It is artistic, because he can join his superior technique with his playful imagination. It is something original, beautiful and effective."

8. Marcos Pinheiro Pizzelli, Aktobe to Raed, free
Georgi Zhukov, Satandard Liege to Roda JC, on loan
Mauricio, Terek Grozny to Zenit St-Petersburg, free
Jordi Figueras, Real Betis to Eskisehirspor, undisclosed fee
Leandro Velazquez, Johor to Pasto, free
Gary Hooper, Sheffield Wednesday to Norwich City, loan return
Ezequiel Rescaldani, Puebla to Malaga CF, loan return
Humberto Osorio, Tijuana to Dorados de Sinaloa, loan return
Gaspar Iniguez, Granada CF to Udinese, £840,000
Remi Walter, AS Nancy to OGC Nice, £700,000
Claudio Beauvue, Olympique Lyonnaise to Celta Vigo, £3.5m
Nestor Camacho, Avai to Guarani, free
Paul Keita, released by AEL Kalloni
Charlie Austin, QPR to Southampton, £3.64m
Thomas Pledl, FC Ingolstadt to SV Sandhausen, on loan
Hugo Almeida, Anzhi Makhachkala to Hannover 96, free
Collins Fai, Dinamo Bucharest to Standard Liege, £105,000
Sean Murray, Wigan Athletic to Watford, loan return
Diogo Figueiras, Genoa to Sevilla, loan return
Sergiy Gryn, Shakhtar Donetsk to Ilyichivets Mariupol, on loan
Gaspar Iniguez, Carpi to Granada CF, loan return
Fabio Castillo, Quindio to Boyaca Chico, free
Matias Mier, CD Universidad Catolica to Bucaramanga, undisclosed fee
Victor Ibarbo, Watford to Nacional, on loan
Cleider Alzate, Aguilas Doradas to Pasto, undisclosed fee



9. Garde hits out at Grealish
Jack Grealish has struggled to get in the Aston Villa team in recent months, after initially receiving hype as the next big superstar. Grealish made just his second start since November, but his performance has attracted criticism from manager Remi Garde, as he was given the hook 73 minutes into their FA Cup third round replay against Wycombe Wanderers. The 20 year old was dropped after being pictured out in a nightclub partying the night of a 4-0 Premier League thrashing at the hands of Everton. Garde was scathing in his assessment of the 20 year old's return to the Villa team: "It was Jack's first game for quite a long time - and I haven't seen what I wanted to see from him," he said. "He played in the part of the game when we weren't playing well collectively. We were the Premier League team and for the first hour I didn't see that. My team was poor technically for an hour I am not happy about that - but I'm happy with the result because this kind of game is sometimes a trap."

10. Clichy looking to clinch his place
Former Arsenal full back Gael Clichy has suffered injury problems in recent times, which had led to Aleksander Kolarov taking hold of the Manchester City left back position ahead of him. With Kolarov now ruled out through injury, Clichy is hoping to stay fit and get an extended run in the side. "My aim for the rest of the season is to remain fit because without that I can't hope for anything," he told the Daily Star. "I'm feeling really strong and feel good in training. I know what I'm capable of and I'm ready for any challenge that is put in front of me."

Written by Tris Burke

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