Gyan backtracks on retirement ahead of Africa Nations Cup
Ghana national team captain Asamoah Gyan on Wednesday reversed his decision to retire from international football, just weeks before the Africa Cup of Nations.
The striker said Monday he was quitting the national team after he was angered by coach Kwasi Appiah’s plan to strip him of the captaincy for next month’s finals in Egypt.
But President Nana Akufo-Addo intervened on Tuesday by telephoning the Turkey-based player, urging him to make himself available for selection.
Gyan in a statement said he has accepted the president’s request, and was ready for the tournament.
“A presidential request is one that cannot be disregarded... I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith, and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah,” the 33-year-old forward said in a statement.
Thorgan Hazard joins Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund confirmed on Wednesday they have signed Thorgan Hazard, the younger brother of Chelsea star Eden, on a five-year deal form Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The 26-year-old winger announced in April that he was joining Dortmund, who finished runners-up in the Bundesliga this season, with only the details of the transfer to sort out.
“I am grateful for five great years at Borussia Moenchengladbach and the wonderful memories,” said Hazard in a statement on Dortmund’s club website.
“Now was exactly the right point in time to take the next step in my career.
“I am proud to be able to play for Borussia Dortmund - it is a top club with unbelievable fans.”
Germany’s top-selling daily Bild says the transfer should cost about 25 million euros ($28m) plus add-ons.
EU court cancels 18.4m euro Real state aid refund
A top EU court on Wednesday cancelled a European Commission decision from 2016 that forced Spain to recover 18.4 million euros from Real Madrid because it considered a real estate refund as illegal state aid.
“The Commission could not classify the disputed measure as state aid”, as it did not “sufficiently demonstrate that it conferred an advantage to the plaintiff,” said the ruling of the General Court of the European Union.
In a decision handed down in July 2016, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the club and the Madrid City Hall had agreed an illegal transaction involving the sale of municipal land.
In the deal, the club had paid 595,000 euros in 1998 for the land, but the operation had not come to fruition for technical reasons and authorities paid Real Madrid 22.7 million euros in compensation in 2011.
Wilmots signs on as Iran coach
Former Ivory Coast and Belgium manager Marc Wilmots signed a contract in Brussels on Wednesday to become coach of Iran following lengthy talks.
“The contract was signed at the residence of the (Iran) ambassador between Mr. Wilmots and Mehdi Taj (the president of the Iranian football federation),” a diplomat at the embassy told AFP by telephone.
The former Belgian striker had travelled to Iran earlier this month and was expected to sign a $1.2 million (1 million euros) a year deal in Tehran.
However the 50-year-old who was capped 70 times for his country returned to Belgium with no agreement.
Iranian news reports said the delay was caused by difficulties involved with “banking transfers.”
The diplomat confirmed that the contract runs until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Wilmots takes over from Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz who stepped down after eight years in charge in January following Iran’s semi-final exit in the Asian Cup when they went down 3-0 to Japan. He led Iran to two World Cup finals and extended his contract to 2019 after the 2018 tournament in Russia.