FIFA Award: Barcelona's Ronaldinho, team-mate Samuel Eto'o and Chelsea's Frank Lampard were shortlisted for FIFA's World Player of the Year award yesterday. Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho, who took the honour in 2004, was named European Footballer of the Year on Monday after guiding Barcelona to last season's Primera Liga title. Cameroon striker Eto'o scored 24 goals for the Catalans last season, while England's Lampard, second to Ronaldinho in the European vote, was ever-present in Chelsea's Premier League-winning side. FIFA will announce the winner at a gala in Zurich on December 19.

Portsmouth: Second division promotion hopefuls Sheffield United have "reluctantly" allowed manager Neil Warnock to speak to Premier League Portsmouth, who are seeking a new manager after sacking Alain Perrin last week. Warnock has been linked with the job in the media since Perrin became the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season, with newspapers claiming he would double his salary with a move to the south coast. Warnock has been in charge at Bramall Lane since December 1999.

Real Madrid: Defender Ivan Helguera has extended his contract with Real Madrid until 2009, the Primera Liga side said yesterday. The 30-year-old centre-back, whose original deal was due to expire in June 2006, has committed his future to the club for another three seasons. Helguera's contract renewal followed a few hours after goalkeeper Iker Casillas extended his deal with the club until 2011.

Babayaro: Newcastle's defender Celestine Babayaro was banned for three games yesterday after admitting a violent conduct charge following a flare-up with Everton's Australian midfielder Tim Cahill. Both players were charged with the same offence yesterday and given until 1800 GMT to respond by the FA. Babayaro admitted the charge shortly afterwards. The cases were due to be heard by a disciplinary commission today.

Koeman: Benfica coach Ronald Koeman has been fined 250 euros ($295) for making a gesture suggesting the referee was blind during a league match against Belenenses, Portugal's professional soccer body said yesterday. The Dutchman received the fine after waving his hands in front of his eyes, implying that referee Pedro Proenca was blind in failing to award a penalty after an alleged handball by a Belenenses defender. The match ended 0-0.

Match-Fixing: First division Germinal Beerschot have become the sixth Belgian club to be investigated over allegations of match-fixing, a spokesman for the Brussels Public Prosecutor said yesterday. "We have opened a second file here in Brussels," Josef Colpin said. "There are other cases opened elsewhere in Belgium - one other here, in Hasselt, Mechelen, Lierse and Bergen/Mons. The latest investigation involves first division club Germinal Beerschot and two of their players. There is a chance all of the cases will be brought together but we will have to wait and see."

Demolition Proposals: Atletico Madrid say they are taken aback by local council plans to demolish their Vicente Calderon stadium and create a riverside park. Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon revealed the winning proposal to regenerate the area around the city's Manzanares river which suggests the 39-year-old stadium should be demolished. Ruiz-Gallardon said, however, that the plan was likely to be modified and depended on agreement with the club.

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