Dutch international Phillip Cocu has revealed he will quit national-team football after the FIFA World Cup this summer. The 35-year-old PSV Eindhoven captain has 95 caps, having made his Netherlands debut in a friendly against Germany in April 1996. It remains to be seen whether he will stay at PSV next season, having just helped them retain the Eredivisie title.
Athletic Club Bilbao have lost Joseba Etxeberría for at least three weeks after the 28-year-old former Spanish international injured his right hamstring. The winger joins Carlos Gurpegi (broken cheekbone) on the sidelines after being hurt in Sunday's 1-1 home draw against RCD Mallorca. In the worst-case scenario, Etxeberría could miss the rest of the season. With six games to play, Athletic are just three points above the relegation zone.
Hamburger SV will part company with veteran midfielder Stefan Beinlich at the end of the season, having failed to reach agreement on a new contract. The 34-year-old, who has made 16 Bundesliga appearances this season for second-placed Hamburg, will leave the club after three years at the AOL Arena. He was previously with Aston Villa FC, FC Hansa Rostock, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hertha BSC Berlin.
FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o wants an all-Spanish UEFA Champions League final against Villarreal CF in Paris on 17 May. "I hope it happens for Spanish football's sake, but both sides know they have to fight hard and have luck over two games to get there," the Cameroonian international said. Barcelona visit last year's losing finalists AC Milan in their semi-final first leg on 18 April, while Villarreal travel to Arsenal FC 24 hours later.
Manchester United FC's Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze, sidelined since suffering a cruciate ligament injury in September, is close to making a comeback. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said the left-back, who hopes to make Argentina's FIFA World Cup squad, could play in Friday's home Premiership game against Sunderland AFC.
Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger will recall England defender Sol Campbell for Wednesday's Premiership trip to Portsmouth FC but has warned the 31-year-old he is no longer an automatic first choice. Campbell will play his first game since he walked out at half-time after being substituted during Arsenal's 3-2 home defeat by West Ham United FC on 1 February. After returning to the club, Campbell then suffered ankle and toe injuries and watched as Kolo Touré and Philippe Senderos developed an impressive centre-back pairing.
Guus Hiddink will be unveiled as Russia's new coach on Friday. The departing PSV Eindhoven coach said today: "On Friday we go there for the presentation. We want to put Russia on the European map again." The 59-year-old will sign a two-year contract including UEFA EURO 2008™.
BV Vitesse have secured the futures of Dutch youth internationals Piet Velthuizen and Rihairo Meulens. The 19-year-old goalkeeper Velthuizen has signed a four-year deal while striker Meuelens, 17, put pen to paper on a three-year contract.
Djurgårdens IF FF opened their Swedish title defence last night with a 0-0 draw against Hammarby. The champions played most of the second half with ten men after Sweden striker Mattias Jonson was sent off. Elsewhere, AIK Solna beat fellow newcomers Östers IF 4-0 to top the standings with four points from two games.
A week before the start of the 2006 Belarussian season, Vladimir Kostyukov has become the new coach of FC Dnepr-Transmash Mogilev. The 51-year-old has strong links with the club having worked as an assistant to former coach Valeriy Streltsov, who is now Dnepr's president. Dnepr are keen to make progress after finishing sixth last term. "Our players have great potential and are confident," Kostyukov said.
Canal+ announced today that it is to sell all its shares in Paris Saint-Germain FC, bought in 1991, to an American finance company. PSG director Alain Cayzac will replace Pierre Blayau as president as part of the shake-up.
Dutch club Willem II have signed Chelsea FC youth product Joe Keenan on a two-year contract with an extension option. The 23-year-old midfielder has played eleven Eredivisie games on loan at the Tilburg-based team this season, following similar stints at KVC Westerlo in Belgium and Brentford FC in England.
The opening round of the 2006 Finnish First Division has been disrupted by three postponements caused by snow and ice. FF Jaro-FC Haka, Tampere United-IFK Mariehamn and Myllykosken Pallo-47-KuPS Kuopio were due to be played on Wednesday 19 April but will now take place in May.
Australia hope to appoint a full-time coach to replace Guus Hiddink when the Dutchman leaves the job after this summer's FIFA World Cup. "We are keen to have a national coach who is able to be full-time and, in between direct Socceroos commitments, we would be looking to tap into his experience in all manner of ways," said Football Federation of Australia official John Boultbee.
Belarussian champions FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk were left frustrated by FC Gomel in the first leg of their Belarussian Cup semi-final. The game was staged in Luban near Soligorsk as Shakhtyor's own stadium is being rebuilt. Despite constant pressure from the champions, Gomel held on for a 0-0 draw. In the other semi, FC BATE Borisov won 3-1 against second division FC Zvezda-BGU Minsk. The second legs will be played on 14 April.
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