RCD Espanyol's on-loan defender Óscar Miñambres will miss the rest of the Primera División season after doctors diagnosed the right-back with ruptured knee ligaments. Miñambres, 23, fell injured during the 3-0 defeat by Valencia CF, the final league game before the Christmas break. Medical staff initially believed that the Real Madrid CF player's injury was not serious but a scan revealed a tear to the cruciate ligament which requires surgery and will keep him out for the remainder of his season-long loan spell.
Elsewhere in Spain, Real Betis Balompié striker Dani Martín also faces a long lay-off after undergoing an operation to mend torn ankle ligaments. The 23-year-old picked up the injury during the final training session of 2004 and has begun a four-month recovery period.
Portuguese coach José Morais has signed a two-year contract to take the helm at newly promoted Swedish First Division side Assyriska FF. "It's a club that I can feel familiar with," said Morais. "Their winning attitude and morale is something that I like a lot and even though the first year in a higher division always is hard, I hope that we'll be able to establish ourselves." The season begins on 9 April.
Hungarian First Division club Budapest Honvéd FC have unexpectedly sacked coach György Bognár during their mid-season break. The disgruntled former Hungary playmaker said: "I am quite disappointed because, in my opinion, the team was on the right track and managed to pull out some good results." Honvéd sit eighth in the 16-team league, 15 points adrift of leaders Ferencvárosi TC.
Aleksandr Ryabokon has left his coaching role at FC Borysfen Boryspil to take the reins of fellow Ukrainian Premier League strugglers FC Obolon Kyiv. Reserve team coach Stepan Matviiv is the favourite to take over at Borysfen, who sit two places below Obolon at the foot of the table.
FC Torpedo Moskva midfield player Serguei Ossipov has signed a contract extension which will keep him in the Russian capital for a further three years while Russian Premier League rivals FC Rostov have appointed 40-year-old former player Gennadi Stiopushkin as their new coach. The club have also sold Latvian international goalkeeper Aleksandrs Kolinko to FC Rubin Kazan. The 29-year-old, who played at UEFA EURO 2004™, said: "There was much interest in me among Russian clubs, but Rubin were the most persistent."
Another goalkeeper to have settled his future is 1. FSV Mainz 05's Dimo Wache, who has signed a contract extension keeping him at the Bundesliga newcomers until 2007 with an optional 12-month extension. "I am sure that winning promotion wasn't the last step in our development and wanted to show my belief in the club by staying," he said.
Israeli Premier League leaders Maccabi Haifa FC will be without Giovanni Rosso for a surther six weeks while he recovers from back surgery. The 32-year-old Croatian forward is set to undergo an operation on a ruptured disc.
Two Turkish teams have named new coaches, with Diyarbakirspor appointing Oguz Çetin, who recently left Gençlerbirligi SK, after cancelling the contract of Ümit Kayihan by mutual consent. Cetin has agreed an initial six-month deal.
Elsewhere, Güvenç Kurtar has agreed a one-and-a-half-year deal to coach struggling Akçaabat Sebatspor. "I have accepted a very tough job," said Kurtar upon taking over the Turkish Superleague's bottom side. "I hope I won't let down the people who trusted me."
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