Manchester United: Man. United captain Gary Neville and Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are battling to be fit for the start of the new season. Manager Alex Ferguson said the trio would not be ready for "roughly a couple of weeks." Portuguese winger Nani is a doubt for today's friendly against Inter with an ankle injury. Midfielder Owen Hargreaves is back in full training after tendinitis and could feature for the first time in Saturday's match against Peterboro. Brazilian Anderson could play in Friday's friendly against Doncaster.
Puyol: Spain and Barcelona defender Carles Puyol is on course for a return to action in mid-September as he works to recover from a torn knee ligament suffered in June. "I don't like to make predictions, but he could be ready for the first game of the Champions League (Sept 18/19) if everything continues as it is doing," Barca doctor Ramon Cugat told daily Sport.
Pelle: Lecce's 22-year-old striker Graziano Pelle has agreed a five-year contract with AZ Alkmaar. The Dutch first division side have reportedly paid a fee of six million euros for the Italian.
Voronin: Liverpool striker Andriy Voronin believes he can emulate his former B. Leverkusen team-mate Dimitar Berbatov in making a seamless transition into the English Premier League. "Berbatov did well and he came from German football, which I would say is similar to England," the 26-year-old said. Bulgarian Berbatov scored 23 goals in his first season at Tottenham.
Boateng: Tottenham Hotspur have signed 20-year-old German midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng from Hertha Berlin for an undisclosed fee, estimated by German media at £5 million. Spurs manager Martin Jol said: "He is an attacking midfield player, very strong and that is one of his main assets...In Germany he is regarded as one of the biggest talents."
Motta: Barcelona midfielder Thiago Motta has asked to be released from his contract to make it easier for him to move to another club. "I am surprised sports director Txiki Begiristain has said publicly that they don't want me. This makes it harder for me to negotiate with other clubs," said Motta.
Partizan Belgrade: Partizan Belgrade will host Bosnia's Zrinjski Mostar in their UEFA Cup first qualifying round second leg tomorrow after UEFA deferred a one-year ban against the Serbian club. "The decision means the UEFA Appeals Body can examine the case, consider the parties' arguments and rule on the merits of the case by August 16, when the second qualifying round first-leg matches are scheduled to take place," UEFA said.
Friendlies: Aalen vs Stuttgart 2-4; Brondby vs Chelsea 0-2; Cologne vs B. Munich 3-1; Barnsley vs Wigan 0-2; Darlington vs Leeds 0-1; Hannover vs R. Madrid 3-0; Bournemouth vs Portsmouth 1-4; Carlisle vs Middlesbrough 0-2; Coventry vs Espanyol 1-1; Norwich vs West Ham 1-2; Peterborough vs Birmingham 0-3; Everton vs W. Bremen 2-2.
UEFA Cup: First qualifying round, second leg - Kaerjeng vs Lillestrom 1-0 (aggregate: 2-2; Kaerjeng through on away goals).
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us