Nigeria will play in the Confederations Cup in Brazil next week after a dispute about bonus payments was settled.
The Super Eagles' first match in the tournament is on Monday, but the players refused to leave their hotel in Namibia and missed a scheduled flight.
But they will now fly to south America in time for the game against Tahiti.
It is claimed the Nigerian players were angry over unpaid bonus money promised to them after they beat Kenya 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier last week.
The players wanted to be paid £6,370 ($10,000) but the cash-strapped Nigeria Football Foundation, who have been forced to cut back on backroom staff of the various national teams, refused.
The Nigerian players had then been offered a bonus £1,590 ($2,500) following their 1-1 draw in Namibia in another World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, but the players wanted more.
"Their officials all departed on an earlier flight, but the players and technical staff are still in Namibia," said Nigeria Football Association general secretary Barry Rukoro.
Nigeria's first game takes place in Belo Horizonte against Tahiti on 17 June, before playing Uruguay in Salvador on 20 June and then Spain in Fortaleza on 23 June.
Hurricane Sandy is ravaging the East Coast. Living in New Jersey, I am seeing firsthand the damage being caused by the storm, notably tearing up the Jersey Shore and Long Beach Island boardwalks. Sandy is affecting the travel schedules and routes of NBA teams, as well, specifically on the east coast of the country.
The NBA season tips off tomorrow, but those games won’t be affected due to the locations that were already in place. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets open the season squaring off in Brooklyn on Thursday November 1st, and although the storm looks to be cleared up by then, the area could be damaged, and will definitely be wet. The Knicks/Nets game will probably be the most influenced by Sandy.
Second in projected influence to the NYK/BKN game will be the Philadelphia 76ers hosting the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday October 31. Sandy is projected to be hitting Philly in full force just at the time that the Nuggets and 76ers are supposed to take the court. However, it will be on a lesser scale than when it hits New York, as the longer the storm strays from the ocean, the weaker it becomes.
Further north is the Toronto Raptors taking on the Indiana Pacers. Being that the Toronto area is not supposed to be hit as hard as the New York/New Jersey region, it is unlikely that the Pacers and Raptors will face any setbacks in getting their game in.
Here’s hoping that Hurricane Sandy does less damage to the east coast than projected, and we as fans, get to enjoy some quality basketball being played this week.
Group D co-leader CSKA Moscow will be without a key cog in its frontcourt for more than 4 months after losing big man Zoran Erceg to a led injury, the club announced Wednesday. Erceg got injured in practice last Saturday. Researchs confirmed the bad news, as Erceg has an Achilles tendon tear and a right soleus muscle injury. The 27-year-old Erceg joined CSKA over the summer from Besiktas and averaged 10 points on 54.5% three-point shooting, 5.5 rebounds and 2 steals in his first two Turkish Airlines Euroleague fixtures with the Russian champs. Center Sasha Kaun and forward Andrey Vorontsevich appear to be the most likely players to see an uptick in minutes with Erceg out. "This is a serious loss for us, we have big hopes on Erceg, especially on offense," CSKA president Andrei Vatutin said. "We are not ready to say if we will look for a replacment - we will see if Andrey Vorontsevich can fill Erceg’s shoes. We just can’t decide quickly at this stage of the season."
Sunderland's Premier League match against Reading at the Stadium of Light has been called off today due to a waterlogged pitch, the Royals said on their Twitter feed.
Referee Neil Swarbrick postponed the fixture at around 13.40 BST after several inspections, with managers Martin O'Neill and Brian McDermott both having viewed the playing surface for themselves.
Rain had been falling all morning and with no sign of a break in the weather, Mr Swarbrick took his decision, it is understood with the support of the managers.
"As soon as we arrived there was concern about the pitch, we were called by the groundsmen and the management staff to have a look at it," the referee told Sky Sports. "Straight away we could see there was standing water on the pitch. It has been raining all night and all this morning. We have looked at numerous weather forecasts and they are all saying persistent rain until at least seven, eight nine o'clock.
"The pools of water on the pitch have got larger and larger. We took a ball out there, tried rolling it, bouncing it but there was no movement of the ball at all especially down both the flanks. On player safety and the game as a spectacle it would be farcical if we did try and start it."
Louis Saha has signed for Sunderland on a one-year deal.
The 34-year-old former Fulham, Manchester United and Everton striker has been without a club since leaving Tottenham at the end of last season.
The Frenchman could make his Black Cats debut against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
"Louis is a striker whose abilities have been proven at the very highest level," Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill told the club website.
"I'm sure he will be a great addition to our squad in an area we recognise needs strengthening and I'm delighted we have been able to complete the deal ahead of our first game of the season."
Saha joined Spurs on a short-term deal in January from Everton but his contract was not extended at the end of the campaign.
Van Persie, 29, is expected to be in Manchester on Thursday afternoon to complete his £24m deal and could make his debut at Everton on Monday.
He said: "In 1999 I had Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the four best strikers in Europe.
"We are going towards that now."
United could now have a front line selected from Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa.
Ferguson's four front men in 1999 led them to a historic Treble success as they won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in one season.
Van Persie's arrival at Old Trafford will give Ferguson an array of forward options, including li
"They [Rooney and Van Persie] are two fantastic players and it will be great to have both of them," said Ferguson.
First Published: Tuesday 17 July 2012
The summer transfer window is now open and Barclays Premier League clubs are buying and selling players ahead of the 2012/13 season, which starts on Saturday August 18th.
You can keep track of all the ins and outs at your club on this page, which will be updated throughout the summer.
The transfer window closes at 11pm on August 31st.
Manuel Almunia (released)
Gavin Hoyte (released)
Carlos Cuellar (Sunderland) Free Full story
Emile Heskey (released)
Eden Hazard (Lille) Undisclosed Full story
Marko Marin (Werder Bremen) Undisclosed
Jose Bosingwa (released)
Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Didier Drogba (released) Full story
Salomon Kalou (Lille) Free
Steven Naismith (Rangers) Free Full story
Marcus Hahnemann (released)
James McFadden (released)
Fabio Borini (Roma) Undisclosed Full story
Fabio Aurelio (Gremio) Free
Stephen Darby (released)
Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce) Undisclosed Full story
Maxi Rodriguez (Newell's Old Boys) Undisclosed
Wayne Bridge (Brighton & Hove Albion) Loan
Owen Hargreaves (released) Full story
Ritchie De Laet (Leicester City) Undisclosed
Fabio da Silva (Queens Park Rangers) Loan Full story
Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton & Hove Albion) Free
Michael Owen (released) Full story
Park Ji-Sung (Queens Park Rangers) Undisclosed Full story
Paul Pogba (Juventus) Free Full story
Leon Best (Blackburn Rovers) £3m
Fraser Forster (Celtic) Undisclosed
Danny Guthrie (Reading) Free Full story
Peter Lovenkrands (released)
Alan Smith (released)
Samba Diakite (Nancy) Loan Full story
Fabio da Silva (Manchester United) Loan Full story
Robert Green (West Ham United) Free Full story
Andrew Johnson (Fulham) Free Full story
Ryan Nelsen (Tottenham Hotspur) Free Full story
Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United) Undisclosed Full story
Patrick Agyemang (released)
Daniel Gabbidon (released)
Fitz Hall (released)
Paddy Kenny (Leeds United) Undisclosed
Daniel Shittu (released)
Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed Full story
Danny Guthrie (Newcastle) Free Full story
Adrian Mariappa (Watford) Undisclosed Full story
Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest) Free
Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart) Free Full story
Nicky Shorey (West Bromwich Albion) Undisclosed Full story
Jamie Ness (Rangers) Free Full story
Ryan Brunt (Leyton Orient) Loan
Florent Cuvelier (Walsall) Loan
Andrew Davies (released)
Salif Diao (released)
Ricardo Fuller (released)
Louis Moult (released)
Thomas Soares (released)
Carlos Cuellar (Aston Villa) Free Full story
Swansea City (swanseacity.net)
Ben Alnwick (Barnsley) Free
Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow) Undisclosed
Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev) Undisclosed Full story
Ryan Nelsen (Queens Park Rangers) Free Full story
Louis Saha (released)
Keith Andrews (released)
Marton Fulop (released)
Paul Scharner (released)
Nicky Shorey (released)
Somen Tchoyi (released)
Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul) Undisclosed
Robert Green (Queens Park Rangers) Free Full story
Frank Nouble (released)
Freddie Sears (Colchester) Free
Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen) Undisclosed Full story
Mohamed Diame (West Ham United) Free Full story
Steve Gohouri (released)
Chris Kirkland (released)
Hugo Rodallega (released)
Lithuania's bid to reach the podium at the London Games has been hit by the loss of veteran center Robertas Javtokas to a foot injury.
The veteran center was not at full strength at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Caracas, Venezuela, where he helped the Baltic side capture one of the three spots for London.
Javtokas was hobbled by an apparent ankle injury.
The Lithuanian Basketball Federation have announced that following Javtokas' return to Europe, tests have indicated he has a stress fracture.
"Numerous studies have shown that Robertas suffered a stress fracture of the foot," said one of the Lithuanian national team doctors, Vytenis Trumpickas, in a statement issued by the federation.
Javtokas, the national team captain, will have to wear a special splint for three weeks and will then need to rehabilitate the injury.
WASHINGTON DC - The U.S. men's basketball team eased past Brazil 80-69 in an exhibition game on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), but their sluggish play and spotty shooting should banish any thoughts they will waltz to another Olympic gold medal in London.
LeBron James scored 30 to lead the Americans, who trailed by 10 after the first period and were out-rebounded (38-30) and out-hustled by their less-heralded counterparts.
"Our defense won the game," said U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It was outstanding for three quarters, especially because we didn't hit shots. And we missed dunks.
"I liked the mental toughness of our team. We kept reminding them: 'We're not doing it on offense. Don't let it affect defense.' And I thought it didn't."
U.S. President Barack Obama was in attendance but he would not have been impressed with the U.S. shooting as they hit only 29 of 71 from the floor, including six of 24 from three-point range.
While James hit 11 of 20 shots, his teammates were much less effective, Kobe Bryant managing only eight points on three of 11 shooting. Carmelo Anthony shot one of seven from the floor, scoring just three points for the Americans, who won Oly
Russia have been dealt a blow ahead of UEFA EURO 2012 after coach Dick Advocaat announced that defender Roman Shishkin will not be involved due to a stomach complaint.
Denmark coach Morten Olsen has named defender Jores Okore and forward Nicklas Pedersen as the final members of his 23-man squad for next month's UEFA EURO 2012.
Spain forward David Villa looks set to miss Euro 2012 as he struggles to recover from a broken leg.
Villa, 30, fractured his tibia in December and has failed to prove his fitness to coach Vicente del Bosque.
The Barcelona striker told the national team doctor on Tuesday that he was unlikely to be available for Poland and Ukraine.
"David Villa cannot definitely be on the list for Euro 2012," a statement from the Spanish FA said.
"After not getting in the final practice and development desired, David Villa spoke with Del Bosque, who relayed that although it was Villa's wish to be with the team in Poland and Ukraine, that his physical state was 'not as good' as would be desirable."
Del Bosque, who names his final squad for the tournament on Sunday, had promised he would give Villa as long as possible to return to fitness.
Villa is Spain's record goalscorer, with 51 goals in 82 games.
Spain are also likely to be without veteran defender Carles Puyol, who is struggling with a knee injury, as they seek to defend the title they won in Vienna in 2008.
Authorities in Bahrain have tightened security ahead of practice sessions for Sunday's Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Anti-government protesters have promised "three days of rage" to coincide with the event.
Correspondents say there is palpable unease about the fate of the race amid escalating unrest and violence.
On Wednesday night, Force India team members were forced to flee as petrol bombs were thrown near their car on their way back from the track.
The four mechanics in a 4x4 were caught in the middle of an incident as police clashed with protesters. Two members of the team have since asked to return home.
Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, only decided to go ahead with this weekend's race at the last minute.
Formula 1's governing body has confirmed the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead on 22 April.
The decision comes after speculation about the event in the Gulf state, in which civil unrest has continued since protests in February 2011.
The FIA has been under pressure to call off the race amid security concerns.
But a statement said it was "satisfied that all the proper security measures are in place for the running of a Formula 1 world championship event".
Protesters in Bahrain have called for the race to be cancelled. It is closely tied with the ruling royal family, who are being pressured to improve human rights and make reforms by the majority Shia population, who accuse the minority ruling Sunnis of discrimination.
A number of Formula 1 teams expect the Bahrain Grand Prix to be called off amid security concerns caused by civil unrest, BBC Sport has learned.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday no teams had expressed concerns to him, but suggested the race's contract may not be renewed.
A statement released earlier from the Formula One Teams Association said it was down to the FIA to cancel the race.
The teams are due to meet Ecclestone in China over the coming days.
Unlike last year, the Bahrain authorities are in no mood to cancel the race themselves, so the decision rests with the FIA this time.
Inter Milan have sacked coach Claudio Ranieri after only one win in their last 10 league matches.
The former Chelsea boss took charge at the San Siro in September, replacing Gian Piero Gasperini, who was dismissed after only five games in charge.
Despite Inter's poor run, president Massimo Moratti said earlier on Monday: "I think that Claudio Ranieri will remain until the end of the season."
Youth team coach Andrea Stramaccioni will take charge of the Nerazzurri.
Stramaccioni led Inter's youth side to a win over Ajax in the NextGen Series final on Sunday.
Following Sunday's defeat by Juventus, Inter sit eighth in Serie A, 22 points behind their local rivals, who top the table.
They were also knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Marseille earlier this month.
A statement on the club's website said: "President Massimo Moratti and everyone at Inter Milan would like to thank Claudio Ranieri and his staff for their professionalism, dedication and honesty during their time in charge of the team."
Bolton's Premier League meeting at Aston Villa on Tuesday has been postponed amid concern over the health of Trotters midfielder Fabrice Muamba.
The 23-year-old is critically ill after suffering a cardiac arrest during Saturday's FA Cup tie at Tottenham.
A Bolton statement said: "The club would like to thank Aston Villa and the Premier League for their kind support and understanding at this time."
Villa said they had agreed to Bolton's request "without hesitation".
In a club statement, Villa manager Alex McLeish paid tribute to a player he managed at Birmingham City.
McLeish said: "He has always been a terrific lad, nothing other than the perfect professional.
"In my experience he trained every day the way he went to play in games, full of intensity and enthusiasm.
"He is a manager's dream in terms of his commitment to the team and to his club and I know that [Bolton boss] Owen Coyle will feel the same way about him.
"My heart goes out to his family and it is overwhelming to think what they are going through right now."
Bolton's next scheduled game is at home to Blackburn on Saturday, 24 March.
Lewis Hamilton beat McLaren team-mate Jenson Button to take pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was 0.152 seconds faster than Button, with Lotus's Romain Grosjean an impressive third fastest ahead of Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher.
The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and world champion Sebastian Vettel could manage only fifth and sixth places.
Ferrari struggled, with Fernando Alonso 12th and Felipe Massa 16th.
Hamilton set his time on his first run in qualifying, when he was a massive 0.7secs faster than his rivals.
But he failed to improve on his second run and Button came close to beating him, losing out following a small mistake at Turn 14.
Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed and stopped breathing during the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Tottenham.
Medics spent 10 minutes trying to resuscitate the 23-year-old on the field after he collapsed with no other players around him.
BBC Radio 5 live's Ian Dennis says the England Under-21 international is fighting for his life.
The score was 1-1 when the match was abandoned after 41 minutes.
Medical staff gave Muamba mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tried to revive him with a defibrillator. In total six medics were treating the player.
Both sets of supporters chanted Muamba's name as he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher. ESPN reported that he was not breathing as he was taken down the tunnel.
Referee Webb called the visibly shaken players off the field after consulting with Coyle and Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp.
Minutes later the match was abandoned.
The former Arsenal midfielder was taken to hospital, accompanied by manager Owen Coyle and club captain Kevin Davies.
Manchester United midfielder Antonio Valencia faces up to a month out of action after suffering a hamstring strain in their 2-0 win against Ajax.
Second-half goals from Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez sealed the victory for the visitors against the Dutch side.
Substitute Valencia injured himself while combining to produce United's second goal in Amsterdam.
"It looks like a bad one," said manager Sir Alex Ferguson of the Ecuadorian's injury.
Everton and Tottenham provided a late flurry of activity in what proved to be a subdued final day of the January transfer window.
But there was no repeat of the big-money transfers of last year, as Premier League clubs spent about £60m, a reduction of 70% on the record level of £225m from January 2011.
Spurs secured a deal to take Louis Saha from the Toffees on loan, with Steven Pienaar going in the opposite direction, while Everton brought in Scottish Premier League top scorer Nikica Jelavic from Rangers for £5.5m.
Leaving Spurs was out-of-favour striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, who was on his way back to his native Russia to join Lokomotiv Moscow , while defender Sebastien Bassong joined Wolves, and Vedran Corluka moved to Bayer Leverkusen on loan.
Fulham signed Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak from Stuttgart as a replacement.
It was Chelsea who again sealed the biggest deal of the day, signing Genk winger Kevin de Bruyne for a fee believed to be £6.7m, with De Bruyne returning to the Belgian club on loan until the summer.
The Blues also secured a late deal for teenage striker Patrick Bamford from Nottingham Forest .
But there was to be no move for Manchester City's Carlos Tevez, who - barring a move to South America or Russia - looks set to remain on the books at Etihad Stadium until the end of the season.
City manager Roberto Mancini added to his squad with the signing of Chile midfielder David Pizarro on loan from Roma , while unwanted full-back Wayne Bridge left to join Sunderland for the rest of the campaign.
Also arriving in a loan deal on Wearside was former Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos , but Martin O'Neill was unable to tempt Kevin Davies from Bolton.
And the Trotters added to their forward ranks in a last-minute deal to take striker and youth-team product Marvin Sordell from Watford, and Arsenal teenager Ryo Miyaichi on loan .
Also in transfer action well into the night were Swansea, who brought in 22-year-old right-back Curtis Obeng from Wrexham.
West Bromwich Albion added defender Liam Ridgewell from Birmingham, and Keith Andrews arrived at the Hawthorns on a free transfer from Blackburn.
And fellow promoted side Norwich added to their back line with defender Ryan Bennett from Peterborough , but the England Under-21 international will be loaned straight back to the Posh.
Meanwhile, Rovers manager Steve Kean signed forward Marcus Olsson from Swedish side Halmstads BK to join up with twin brother Marcus, and defender Bradley Orr moved to Ewood Park from QPR.
The biggest movers in the Championship were West Ham.
They brought in highly rated teenager Ravel Morrison from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee on a three-and-a-half year deal.
The Hammers also sealed late deals for strikers Ricardo Vaz Te from Barnsley and Nicky Maynard from Bristol City.
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson broke a quiet transfer window to sign 19-year-old Swiss centre-back Frederic Veseli from local rivals Manchester City.
It was also a quiet day for Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, who secured the services of 19-year-old Thomas Eisfeld from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires is out for up to a month after suffering a medial knee ligament injury in Saturday's 1-0 FA Cup fourth round win over QPR.
Ramires was injured midway though the second half as he blocked a shot from Clint Hill and went off on a stretcher.
The 24-year-old Brazilian had an MRI scan on Sunday which confirmed he had suffered a medial ligament injury to his right knee.
"He is expected to be out for three to four weeks," said a club statement.
Queens Park Rangers have completed the signing of Nedum Onuoha from Manchester City on a four-and-half-year contract.
The defender, who played under Mark Hughes when the Welshman was manager of City, moves to Loftus Road for an undisclosed fee.
The 25-year-old spent last season on loan at Sunderland but has found opportunities limited at City.
VEF Riga announced Maurice Bailey (183-G-81, college: Sacred Heart) and Brandon Bowdry (198-F-88, college: E.Michigan) for the rest of the season. The Baltic side found the replacement for Marque Perry.
Maurice Bailey played in 2009-2010 for KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd (Serbia-A League) and in Adriatic League averaged 9.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 89.3%. In Mar.'10 moved to Xacobeo BluSens Obradoiro (Spain-ACB, starting five) and showed 6.8ppg, 1.5apg.
In 2010-2011 appeared for Panellinios Lamia (Greece-A1, starting five) and in EuroCup showed 12 games: 10.4ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 79.7%. In Greek League his stats read 9.7ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 76.9%.
The season 2011-2012 started for Trabzonspor Basketbol (Turkey-TBL, starting five), but after three games played showed only 5.7 points per game.
Brandon Bowdry also arrives from Turkey. In 2006-2007 he started for E.Michigan (NCAA) and in 32 games averaged 8.3ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 42.1%, 3Pts: 33.3%, FT: 61.0%. In his last season there his stats read 19.9ppg, 9.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 68.1%. The season 3011-2012 started for Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-TBL, starting five) and averaged 4.4 points per game.
Everton have completed the signing of Darron Gibson from Manchester United on a four-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Gibson, 24, has moved to Everton to become the club's second signing of the January transfer window.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder said: "I am looking foward to the challenge and it was the right time for me to move on from Manchester United.
"Hopefully I can improve Everton, it's a great club with great fans."
Gibson has a reputation for scoring spectacular goals, netting 10 times in 60 appearances for United.
They found it in Reno, where it only took a two-game audition in the D-League for veteran guard Mike James to earn an NBA recall.
The Bulls saw enough from James in his debut this week with the Erie BayHawks at the D-League Showcase to make him the 14th call-up of the young season from the NBA's official minor league.
James had one shot Wednesday night in a minute of play.
Rose's teammate, Luol Deng, confirmed before the game that Rose would be on the sidelines for Wednesday's contest.
"It's really smart to monitor (the injury), especially with so many games coming up," Deng told reporters.
Newcastle United striker Sammy Ameobi could be ruled out for "a number of months", the club has confirmed.
The 19-year-old was forced off after 56 minutes during Tuesday night's 3-1 reserve-team victory against Wigan with an unspecified injury.
Ameobi, who signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal in November, has made 13 first-team appearances this term.
Injury is also likely to rule the teenager out of England Under-21s' fixture against Belgium next month.
The younger brother of Magpies striker Shola, he made his Premier League debut against Manchester City in November.
He scored his one and only goal for the club in a 2-1 Carling Cup second-round victory at Scunthorpe on 25 August.
Paul Scholes has come out of retirement after agreeing to play for Manchester United until the end of the season.
The former England midfielder, 37, retired at the end of last season and has been coaching at Old Trafford.
He will help United through their injury crisis and came off the bench for the final 31 minutes of Sunday's 3-2 win at Manchester City.
Scholes said: "I'm delighted the manager feels I can still make a contribution to the team."
The Salford-born player's return was announced only an hour before kick-off and two-goal hero Wayne Rooney revealed afterwards that the decision was a closely-guarded secret inside the club.
Thierry Henry has joined Arsenal on a two-month loan from New York Red Bulls.
The former Arsenal captain, 34, has been training with the club during the Major League Soccer off-season.
The forward will play for the Gunners during January and February, while fellow striker Gervinho is absent at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Henry, who is eligible to play in Monday's FA Cup match at home to Leeds, said: "When it comes to Arsenal my heart will always do the talking."
The striker, who had to wait a week to secure the temporary switch while Arsenal finalised insurance arrangements with New York Red Bulls, was famous for wearing the number 14 shirt, which Theo Walcott currently uses. Henry will now be Arsenal's number 12.
Benetton Basket turned to the past to upgrade its frontcourt by signing Marcus Goree. Who enjoyed three of his finest seasons with the club between 2004 and 2007. Goree (2.03 meters, 34 years old) arrives from PAOK Thessaloniki, for whom he averaged 14.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in five Eurocup games and 12.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 10 Greek League games this season. The former Euroleague champion, who was dubbed "Tiger" by the fans in Treviso, helped Benetton to the 2006 Italian League championship and the 2005 and 2007 Italian Cups in his previous stay with the club.
Goree is a well-travelled power forward who has played for some of the top clubs in Europe, including CSKA Moscow, with whom he won the 2008 Euroleague, and Maccabi Tel Aviv. In total he played 119 Euroleague games over six seasons and ranks fifth all-time in the competition in blocked shots (120) and 15th in rebounds (727). During an 11-season professional career, Goree has also suited up for Le Havre in France, Frankfurt Skyliners and New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in Germany, Maccabi in Israel, Gran Canaria and Estudiantes in Spain, Benetton in Italy, and CSKA and Triumph Lyubertsy Moscow Region in Russia. He has also collected national championships in Israel and Russia.
Unicaja announced Thursday that it has released shooting guard Uros Tripkovic, who has yet to play this season due to injury. Tripkovic, 25, averaged 8.1 points in 15 Euroleague games last season. He had been under contract through the end of the current season. Unicaja was his second Euroleague club after he played seven seasons with Partizan Belgrade. The move comes one day after Unicaja also released Saul Blanco.
Sir Alex Ferguson described Manchester United's 3-2 home defeat by bottom club Blackburn as "a disaster".
After battling back from 2-0 down, United were dealt the final blow 10 minutes from time courtesy of a goal from Grant Hanley.
"It is a disaster," said the United manager, whose side failed to replace Manchester City at the top of the Premier League on his 70th birthday.
"I never expected it. We lost two terrible goals and you can't do that."
United fell behind to two strikes from Yakubu, either side of the break, before Dimitar Berbatov hauled his side back level with two of his own in quick succession.
However, Blackburn stunned United late on, when 20-year-old Hanley beat keeper David de Gea to Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner, and again rose highest to head in the follow-up.
"We all could have done better," he said, when asked about De Gea. "It was a bad goal to lose.
"At 2-2, I thought we were going to win it. It looked like the momentum was with us, but that third goal was a killer."
Ferguson pointed to the injuries in defence that forced him to field senior players out of their usual positions.
"We've had problems with four central defenders out," added the Scot. "We missed Michael Carrick's craft in the middle. We played Park Ji-sung and Rafael in centre midfield, but they aren't centre midfielders.
CSKA Moscow announced on Saturday that injured forward Andrei Kirilenko will rejoin the team on January 3 after missing six weeks with injury and deciding to activate his option to stay with the Russian champions through the rest of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. Kirilenko (30 years old, 2.06 meters) was the Euroleague's top performer until he suffered a broken nose, concussion and shoulder injury halway through the regular season. Kirilenko, who had played three seasons for CSKA until age 20, returned to the club last summer. His contract with CSKA gave him the option to leave before the start of the Top 16. Kirilenko was named the bwin MVP for October and was bwin MVP of the week twice in the first five games while averaging 13.8 points, 9 rebounds, 3.4 assists. 2.2 steals and 3.2 blocks. He was leading the Euroleague in both rebounds and blocks when he suffered a freak fall in a Russian League game in November. CSKA went on to become just the third team since 2000 to complete an undefeated Now, Kirilenko is due to rejoin CSKA starting January 3.
"We developed great team chemistry and were a real team in the first part of the season: It would be incorrect to stop halfway," Kirilenko said in a statement. "It would be unfair toward my teammates and, more importantly, toward the fans. I know how many people count on me. To play for CSKA is a great pleasure and fun, and I will do my best to win all the tournaments we are participating in. I am thankful to club's management for patience in my difficult situation. Thank you very much to all the fans for their support!
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling faces a month on the sidelines with a broken toe.
"He has a small fracture and I think he'll be out for a month," said manager Sir Alex Ferguson of the 21-year-old, who did not take part in United's 1-0 win over Everton on Saturday.
Another absentee, Ashley Young, will be out for two weeks with a toe problem.
Midfielder Tom Cleverley, substituted with an ankle problem against Everton, should be fit for next Saturday's game.
The United manager told club channel MUTV Cleverley's problem was not too serious and that he was taken off as a precaution.
"He's felt his ankle again - it's nothing serious, just tightness and tiredness," he said.
"It's his first real game back, although he played on Tuesday [at Aldershot] of course. He should be OK next week [against Sunderland] and it was an excellent performance from him in the first half."
He added: "Ashley's injury is not going away so he could be out for a couple of weeks."
Fast on the heels of a heavy loss in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague opening game on Monday, Zalgiris Kaunas has decided to switch gears by letting go head coach Ilias Zouros, the club announced. Thus ends a short stay that made Zouros, a one-time Eurocup Coach of the Year, the sixth Zalgiris bench boss in three years. Zouros, 45, had joined Zalgiris before last season's Top 16, in which the team suffered a 1-5 record and was eliminated from the Euroleague. The proceeded, however, to take both the Baltic League and Lithuanian League titles under Zouros. Zalgiris sport director Vitoldas Massalski was named interim coach while the search for a new head coach is undertaken. Zalgiris was the seventh head coaching stop in four countries for Zouros, who has headed the bench for for teams in his native Greece: Olympiacos, Peristeri, Aris and Panellinios. He also coached Sagesse Beirut to the Lebanese League title and the Asian Club Championship and spent a season-plus with Paris Racing Basket of France.
Asvel Basket bolstered its frontcourt weeks before the start of the 2011-12 Eurocup by inking center Ronny Turiaf for the season. Turiaf (2.08 meters, 28 years old) arrives from New York of the NBA, where he averaged 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 68 games last season. He started his career with French legendary youth project INSEP before joining Gonzaga University in 2001. Turiaf led the Zags to three West Coast Conference titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005. He started his professional career with Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and also played for Golden State before joining New York. Turiaf helped the Lakers to reach the NBA finals in 2008. He is also a regular member of the French national team but missed EuroBasket 2011 due to injury. Turiaf is now set to make his debut in European club competitions this season.
Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell has won his appeal against the red card shown to him against Liverpool on Saturday.
Rodwell was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson 23 minutes into the Merseyside derby for a challenge on Luis Suarez.
The decision infuriated Everton boss David Moyes as his side went on to lose 2-0 at Goodison Park.
The Football Association (FA) decided to withdraw the suspension and Rodwell will now be available for Everton's next three domestic fixtures.
The Toffees face Chelsea on 15 October, Fulham on 23 October and Chelsea in the Carling Cup on 26 October.
Rodwell had originally received a red card for serious foul play for his tackle on Reds striker Suarez.
After the match, Toffees boss David Moyes expressed his shock at Atkinson's decision.
"I thought it ruined the game," said the Scot.
"I would have been disappointed if it had been a free-kick. I don't think anyone in this world thought it was a sending off."
Everton's chief executive Robert Elstone welcomed the overturning of Rodwell's red card but said it meant little in the wake of a defeat.
"Whilst we welcome the correct decision the FA panel has reached, it's of course an outcome which will provide little consolation whatsoever to the 37,000 Evertonians packed into Goodison on Saturday to watch the 2-0 defeat," he commented.
Manchester United will be without Wayne Rooney when they chase their first win in this season's Champions League against ba
The 25-year-old was ruled out for at least a week with a hamstring injury ahead of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Stoke.
Fellow striker Javier Hernandez will also be missing with a dead leg suffered in that game.
United will also be without Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Nemanja Vidic, Rafael and Tom Cleverley.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel crushed his opposition to score an easy victory in Singapore on Sunday, despite major late-race pressure from McLaren's Jenson Button, whom he had outrun early on. And it was Button's presence in second place that prevented Vettel from confirming his second consecutive world championship by a mere point.
To put the title beyond doubt he needed to be 125 points clear, but Button remains a tantalising 124 behind and takes the battle to Japan at the very least.
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher played a key role in the race, but for the wrong reasons. An accident involving him and Sauber's Sergio Perez brought out the safety car on the 29th lap, and that was the first bit of good news that McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had enjoyed all race.
Hamilton's race strategy was compromised from the start after he had lost a set of super-soft tyres to the puncture in the right rear he suffered during the second qualifying session. It meant he had to switch to the less grippy soft compound tyre sooner than his rivals who still had three sets of super-softs.
Vettel blasted into the lead from Button at the start, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso snatching third, but Hamilton's day got worse when he got blocked by Red Bull's Mark Webber and lost places, dropping from fourth to eighth. He climbed quickly to sixth, passing the Mercedes of Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, but a brush with Ferrari's Felipe Massa on Lap 12 damaged his front wing just after they had both stopped for new tyres, and a lap later Hamilton pitted again for a new nose and dropped to 16th. He then received a drive-through penalty for causing a collision, dropping to 19th.
Up front, Vettel owned the race, lock, stock and double barrel, building a lead of 11.4s by the 16th lap after a flurry of fastest laps distanced him from Button, who in turn had dropped Alonso. After losing time behind third placed Force India's Paul di Resta, who moved up temporarily on his harder tyres as faster runners switched to replacements for their soft compounds, the Spaniard was back in third place by Lap 20, but further behind Button than Button was behind Vettel.
Webber was running three seconds further back, but soon began to challenge Alonso until their second pits stops. Then came the incident on lap 29 that changed the complexion of the race.
Rosberg had overtaken Sauber's Sergio Perez for seventh place on the 28th lap, but got on the marbles in the last corner and Perez pounced again. But Rosberg retaliated and they touched going into the first corner, pushing the Mexican wide. That gave Schumacher the chance to close in, but he then misjudged things and crashed into the back of the Sauber. As the Mercedes crashed head-on into a safety wall, thankfully without injury to Schumacher, Vettel's near-20s lead was neutralised as the safety car was deployed. Schumacher was subsequently reprimanded for the incident.
The safety car's presence triggered a rash of pits stops, and when they were done the order was now Vettel, Button, Alonso, Webber - then Di Resta, Rosberg, Force Indias Adrian Sutil, Perez and Hamilton, who had fought back to ninth and had now been thrown an unexpected lifeline.
When the race went green again on Lap 34 Vettel had lapped cars between him and Button and was still 8.9s ahead of the McLaren driver at the end of the lap, but in a key move Webber removed Alonso's championship hopes by passing the surprised Spaniard, as further back Hamilton moved past Perez for eighth. The McLaren driver then overhauled Sutil, Rosberg and Di Resta. So now it was Vettel, apparently cruising home, Button doing likewise in second, Webber and Alonso, and Hamilton finally stalemated in fifth.
The final stops only temporarily shuffled the order, leaving Hamilton behind Di Resta. He caught and passed him again on Lap 53 to regain fifth, leaving the Scot to take a career-best sixth after another superb drive. Hamilton and Button were flying in the closing stages, the latter slashing Vettel's advantage until he was frustrated by the duelling Williams drivers right at the end, but the spotlight was deservedly focused on Vettel.
In the closing laps there was also a huge fight for seventh, which Rosberg just won from Sutil, as Massa was right with them after snatching ninth from Perez on the last lap. Pastor Maldonado beat Williams team mate Rubens Barrichello, as Sebastien Buemi also slipped ahead of the Brazilian late in the race to take 12th. His Toro Rosso team mate Jaime Alguersuari had a tough race, clashing early on with Kamui Kobayashi, and crashing in the late stages.
Kobayashi was 14th following a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, ahead of Bruno Senna who had an up and down race for Renault but caught and passed team mate Vitaly Petrov, who was 17th. Between them, Heikki Kovalainen was 16th, his Lotus team picking up a 10,000 Euro fine for unsafely releasing him into Vettel's path during their final stops.
Behind Petrov, Jerome D'Ambrosio drove tidily for 18th for Virgin, with Daniel Ricciardo recovering for 19th for HRT after needing a new nose and front wing on the first lap, while team mate Tonio Liuzzi later ran into trouble and dropped back to 20th.
The other Lotus, Jarno Trulli's, joined Schumacher, Alguersuari and early spinner Timo Glocks Virgin on the retirement list, when its gearbox broke.
Spain successfully defended their EuroBasket title with another powerful and memorable display in the Final against France.
Having been dominant two years ago in Katowice against Serbia, Sergio Scariolo and his players cruised to the top of the podium once more to deny France an historic first title.
They simply had too much offensively for France and once they moved 13 points in front, early in the third quarter, they never seriously looked like relinquishing their title as they rode out comfortable 98-85 winners.
The opening quarter started at a frantic pace, with Joakim Noah not wasting any time in trying to send out an early message as he threw down two dunks to put France 8-7 ahead.
Spain then began to make some shots with Jose Calderon scoring five quick-fire points and when the lead was extended to 17-12, France coach Vincent Collet called time-out.
The teams then indulged in a real shootout as it started raining three-balls with four in succession, as Spain protected their advantage at 25-20 at the end of the opening quarter.
They then streaked nine points ahead and briefly threatened to make a potentially decisive break as they gave France a big test of their title credentials.
Back-to-back threes by Mikael Gelabale and the ever dangerous Tony Parker limited the damage but the respite was only temporary.
Serge Ibaka was thrilling fans with his defensive plays and with two monstrous blocks already to his name, a third rejection paved the way for Pau Gasol to dunk his team to their first double-figure lead, at 36-26.
Straight out of a subsequent time-out, France were repelled by Ibaka twice more as he took his tally of blocked shots to five and they were most definitely on the ropes although certainly not on the canvas.
Well, except for Parker who was unceremoniously and quite literally pulled down to the floor by Rudy Fernandez, who was called for an unsportsmanlike foul. For a moment things threatened to get ugly as Spain fumbled for the self-destruct button.
The antics of Fernandez unsettled the rhythm of his team and fired up France who posted a 7-0 run with Nicolas Batum making a shot from downtown and then throwing down an explosive dunk to make it a five point game.
But, Spain managed to regain their composure and as both teams made their way to the locker rooms, they were 50-41 ahead.
The contest was still very much peppered with bad-tempered flashpoints after the interval, but there was little change in the score-line as Pau Gasol flushed a dunk to keep his team out comfortably in front at 60-49.
France then rallied with five points in a hurry but, once again, Juan Carlos Navarro continued to maintain his team's cushion with some big shots.
When Spain started the final quarter with a flourish, a fairy-tale finish for France never looked like materialising.
As the minutes ticked down, the Spanish players revelled in their dominance and started the fiesta early, entertaining the huge crowd with some party basketball as they cruised to gold.