Wilmots leaves Iran without signing deal
Former Ivory Coast and Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has left Iran without signing the anticipated contract to coach the Islamic republic’s national team, semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Friday.
The former Belgian striker had arrived in Iran on Wednesday and was expected to sign a $1.2 million (1 million euros) a year deal until the end of the 2022 World Cup.
The 50-year-old who was capped 70 times for his country “reviewed Iran’s football facilities and had talks with Mehdi Taj”, Iran’s football federation president, according to ISNA.
“If the two sides reach an agreement, Wilmots will return to Tehran to sign the contract and start his work,” ISNA said.
Loftus-Cheek to miss Europa League final
Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will undergo Achilles tendon surgery which will rule him out of the Europa League final, the Premier League club said Thursday.
The 23-year-old England international suffered the injury during the 3-0 friendly win over New England Revolution in Boston on Wednesday.
“Ruben has seen a specialist today and will have surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon this evening,” the club said in a statement.
Loftus-Creek will miss the May 29 Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku as well as England’s international commitments this summer.
Cazorla makes Spain return
Santi Cazorla returned to the Spain squad for the first time in four years on Friday as the Villarreal midfielder’s remarkable comeback from injury continues.
Cazorla required numerous operations on knee, foot and ankle injuries that began in 2013, while an aggressive infection in his heel needed a skin graft, extracted from his left forearm.
The 34-year-old’s call-up comes after he has been one of Villarreal’s stand-out players this season, helping them avoid relegation with four goals and 10 assists in 34 appearances.
Cazorla will now hope to feature in Spain’s upcoming European Championship qualifiers against the Faroe Islands on June 7 and Sweden on June 10.
Bayern deny reports that Kovac to be sacked
Bayern Munich denied reports on Friday that coach Niko Kovac is to be sacked regardless of whether he wins the Bundesliga title, and that Mark van Bommel is being lined up as his successor.
Despite being on course to win a league and cup double in the next week, Kovac has been under growing pressure amid widespread speculation that he will not be in charge next season.
On Friday morning, websites Spox.com and Goal.com claimed to have “exclusive information” that Kovac would be sacked regardless of whether he won the title on Saturday and the German Cup final seven days later.