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MANCHESTER: Sir Alex Ferguson is confident that Manchester United can stay the dominant force in English football despite seeing several seasoned campaigners retiring recently.

The retirements of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes mean the famous “Class of 1992” is making the transition into history. However, Ferguson remains convinced that the team has the strength to compete.

“We were aware players were coming to an end,” he said. “We’re confident in Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley coming back [from loan deals] and we were determined to get Phil Jones. 

We’ve replaced the players who left us.”


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MADRID - Spain's top football clubs are convention with players on Monday to try to avoid a strike over unpaid wages spreading to a second match day, an official said.

Players in the first and second divisions including the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo struck on the first match day and postponed the season start for the first time in 27 years.

The players' Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) and the clubs Professional Football League open a new surrounding of talks in Madrid at midday (1000 GMT), an spokesman for the clubs said.

He said, a news discussion is planned afterwards.

The AFE is demanding a earnings guarantee and that players be allowed to break their contracts if they are not paid for three consecutive months, a proposal rejected by the league.

According to the AFE, 200 players in the top two divisions have not been completely paid by cash strapped clubs, some in bankruptcy protection, and are owed a total of about 50 million euros ($72 million).

  • It is not clear if the association will try to squeeze missed matches into an already filled schedule or just scrap them.

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Flamengo forward Ronaldinho has been called back to the Brazil squad for following month's friendly against Ghana at Craven Cottage after a nine-month absence.

The 31-year-old has not featured for his country since 1-0 defeat to Argentina last November, his only appearance in Mano Menezes prevails as Selecao coach.

Other noteworthy inclusions in the 24-man group for the September 5 come across were Real Madrid left back Marcelo, Cruzeiro goalkeeper Fabio, Porto forward Hulk and Internacional striker Leandro Damiao.

There was no place for Chelsea midfielder Ramires, however there was room for Santos versatile Brazil Under-20 international Danilo.

Brazil team: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Jefferson (Botafogo), Fabio (Cruzeiro); Lucio (Inter Milan), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Dede (Vasco), D Luiz (Chelsea), D Alves (Barcelona), Danilo (Santos), Marcelo (Real Madrid); Adriano (Barcelona), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), L Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Ralf (Corinthians), Elias (Atletico Madrid), Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk), PH Ganso (Santos), Lucas (Sao Paulo); Ronaldinho (Flamengo), Robinho (AC Milan), A Pato (AC Milan), Hulk (Porto), L Damiao (Internacional), Neymar (Santos).

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http://www.channelnewsasia.com/imagegallery/store/phpZipx5g.jpgMANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Michael Carrick has urged his Manchester United teammates to ignore their first leg result as they attempt to wrap up a Champions League semi-final win over Schalke 04 here Wednesday.

Carrick said United could not afford to believe the tie was over despite winning the first leg 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen last week.

"It does come into your mind the fact you are two goals up," Carrick told a press conference. "But it is dangerous to go into a game relying on those two goals to get you through.

"Our approach as always when we play at home is to win the game."

Carrick also said United were wary of a Schalke side which scored a stunning 5-2 away victory over Inter Milan in the quarter-finals.

"Clearly, Schalke scoring five goals at Inter stands out and is something you have to take into account," the midfielder said.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson meanwhile said he expected Schalke to go for broke after their timid first leg display, when the Bundesliga side were comprehensively outplayed by United.

Ferguson said Schalke counterpart Ralf Rangnick would attack United from the outset in order to turn around the tie.

"I think Schalke have nothing to lose. That's the message he will impart into his team. I'm sure of that," Ferguson said.

"I think they'll have a go. They'll try to win the match. There's nothing else they can do. For any coach in a semi-final he must try and give his team that chance to win the match, and I think you'll find they'll have a real go."

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(WFI) This weekend's J.League program is postponed after the seventh largest earthquake in history struck Japan on Friday.

A total of 19 games split between its first and second divisions are taking the backseat in the wake of an 8.9-magnitude tremor and subsequent tsunami that swept cars, houses and debris miles inland.

"I have been following with sadness the news of the terrible tragedy in your country and I would like to express my deep sympathy to the people of Japan," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a message sent to Japanese FA president and FIFA Ex-Co member Junji Ogura.

“On behalf of FIFA, I wish to extend our moral support and to let you know that our thoughts are with the victims, the injured and their families".

The massive quake struck about 140km off the northeast coast of Japan, about 500 km from Tokyo. More than 200 have already been found dead, and damage and property loss will easily run into the billions despite Japan’s earthquake preparation.

Yasuhiro Nakamori, international relations director for the Japanese Olympic Committee, tells INSIDER the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo has escaped unscathed along with other venues from the 1964 Summer Games.

The 57,000-capacity stadium was used for ceremonies and athletics during the Olympics but today hosts the Japanese national team’s home fixtures as well as the finals of the J.League Cup, Emperor’s Cup and other major soccer competitions.

This weekend was to be the year’s second slate of J.League games after the 2011 season kicked off last weekend.

Four J.League clubs – Gamba Osaka, Nagoya Grampus, Cerezo Osaka and Kashima Antlers – also have AFC Champions League matches slated for Tuesday and Wednesday. No word yet on whether the matches will go on as planned.

Exhibition baseball games in Tokyo, Chiba and Yokohama were also called off after Friday’s quake.

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English media are reporting that David Beckham is considering a return to the English Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur on a loan deal.

Beckham considering deal with Tottenham (Source: Getty Images)Beckham has said in the past that he can't see himself playing in the English top-flight unless it was in a Manchester United shirt.

But the Guardian is saying sources close to Beckham believe the football star could be prepared to ink a deal with Spurs until the MLS season starts again in March. 

It is reported that Beckham will look to talk with his club LA Galaxy next week in an effort to gain authorisation for a trip back to where it all began.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said Tottenham will also contact Galaxy "to find out the situation", adding that, "if he's available, we're interested".

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Pakistan women's football team
Pakistan women's football players outplayed Maldives 2-1 in the opening match of SAFF Women's Football Championship at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Mehwish scored the opening goal in 45th minute plus Malaika doubled the lead in the 89th minute beginning a penalty kick.

8 teams are participating in the event. Pakistan will now play its 2nd match against Nepal on December 16 and 3rd match against Afghanistan on December 18.