Tag Archives: scorer

Paul Lambert has challenged Christian Benteke to stay at Aston Villa

Lambert challenges Benteke to stay at Villa and prove he's not a one-season wonder

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

17:15 GMT, 19 April 2013

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UPDATED:

19:44 GMT, 19 April 2013

Paul Lambert registered little surprise at Christian Benteke’s nomination for the PFA young player of the year yesterday but asked Aston Villa’s top scorer to guard against becoming a one-season wonder.

Benteke, 22, has scored 19 goals so far, including 15 in the Premier League, and been the major reason why Lambert’s side has managed to claw themselves clear of trouble in the Premier League.

His physical presence has also allowed others to flourish. But Villa’s boss remained phlegmatic at the announcement, instead urging Benteke to carry on his good work.

Plea: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Belgian striker Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park and prove he is no one-season wonder.

Plea: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Belgian striker Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park and prove he is no one-season wonder.

'I’m not bothered if he’s nominated or not, as long as he’s performing for this club,' said Lambert, 'we’ll have to wait and see whether he wins it.

'However, I don’t think it’ll affect him one bit. If he remains the way he is at this minute, he’ll do very well for himself.

Preparation: Benteke and Villa travel to Manchester United this weekend

Preparation: Benteke and Villa travel to Manchester United this weekend

'And I don’t want to pile too much pressure upon him. He’s only a young guy learning his trade. He’s made mistakes like everyone else but his performances have been very good.

'He’s got to sustain a level where he is doing it, week in, week out.

'No doubt we’ll look at his contract at the end of the season. I just don’t want him to be one-season wonder.'

Little interest: Lambert is not bothered whether Benteke wins the PFA Young Player of the Year or not - knowing how valuable he has been for his side this season

Little interest: Lambert is not bothered whether Benteke wins the PFA Young Player of the Year or not – knowing how valuable he has been for his side this season

The spotlight will be on Manchester United’s David De Gea after Andy Carroll’s challenge on the keeper at Upton Park last week.

Lambert said that while Benteke was aggressive, there is no malicious intent.

Michael Carrick

Robin van Persie

Tough test: Villa travel to Old Trafford to face Player of the Year nominees Michael Carrick and Robin Van Persie

'I think a lot has been made of that situation,' added the Scot, 'we don’t really have a physical side, it has only been Christian, he’s a big lad but not an aggressive guy who does not want to hurt anyone.

'I don’t think anyone goes out to hurt anyone. The British game is an up and out them type of football. But Christian is not that way inclined.'

Wrong end: Fabian Delph's (right) own goal gave Aston Villa a point against an 'underrated' Fulham side

Wrong end: Fabian Delph's (right) own goal gave Aston Villa a point against an 'underrated' Fulham side

Threatened: Villa now sit just three points above the relegation zone and Wigan have a game in hand

Threatened: Villa now sit just three points above the relegation zone and Wigan have a game in hand

Sunderland Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole ruled out for season with injury

Fletcher and Cattermole ruled out for rest of the season in massive blow for Sunderland

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

14:54 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 27 March 2013

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill was this afternoon dealt a devastating double blow when it was confirmed that both Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole will miss the rest of the season.

Leading scorer Fletcher suffered ankle ligament damage on international duty with Scotland last week, and midfielder Cattermole had surgery on a persistent knee problem earlier today.

Cattermole, meanwhile, has not played
for Sunderland since the 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal on February 9.

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Lay-off: Sunderland now fear their top scorer could miss the rest of the season after an initial scan

Table

The statement added: 'Cattermole
underwent an operation on his knee earlier today and Fletcher sustained
ankle ligament damage whilst on international duty with Scotland.

'It is not known at this stage if
Fletcher will require an operation, with the injury requiring further
assessment in the coming weeks.

'Both players will play no further part in the Black Cats' 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season.'

The news could hardly have come at a
worse time for O'Neill, whose side find themselves firmly entrenched in
a battle for top-flight survival with eight games to
play.

They face leaders Manchester United
at the Stadium of Light on Saturday desperate to end a run of seven
league games without a victory, which has yielded just three points and
left them only four clear of the drop zone.

Fletcher in particular will be a huge
loss as he is top scorer with 11 goals.

However, having scored five in his
first four games for Sunderland following a 12million move from Wolves, he has managed only one in his last
seven, with the supply lines having dried up alarmingly.

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Miliband stays at Sunderland

David Miliband is to remain a member of the club's board despite stepping down as MP for South Shields.

The former Labour Foreign Secretary has announced he is leaving UK politics to
take up a post with the US-based charity the International Rescue
Committee.

However, Mr Miliband, who joined the board as vice-chairman and
non-executive director in 2011, will maintain his links with the club.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne told Sunderland's official website: 'David's knowledge and experience have been a tremendous
benefit to Sunderland AFC.

'Naturally we are delighted that he is to continue in his role at the
club, and we also wish him every success with this new chapter of his
life.'

The 26-year-old was injured just two minutes into Scotland's 2-1 home defeat by Wales in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park and was carried from the field on a stretcher.

If he does need surgery, player and manager alike will hope he can return in time for the start of the new campaign.

O'Neill at least has January signing Danny Graham, who has played alongside Fletcher in recent weeks, at his disposal.

Cattermole has been plagued by injuries for much of his time on Wearside and has managed only two senior appearances since the end of November.

He had an injection in his injured knee several weeks ago in a bid to solve the problem once and for all, although O'Neill admitted at the time that an operation was a possibility.

Having visited his specialist again, the decision was taken to perform the surgery and write off the rest of the campaign.

France v Spain preview – Giants prepare to meet in crunch clash in bid to reach World Cup

Le Crunch: All eyes on Paris as France host stuttering Spain in World Cup clash that could send champions tumbling towards play-offs

quarter-final in Donetsk” class=”blkBorder” />

Killer blow: Xabi Alonso opens the scoring for Spain against France in the Euro 2012 quarter-final in Donetsk

All-time Record

Played 32
Spain wins 11
France wins 14
Drawn 7

Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane could win his second cap by virtue of his more intricate knowledge of the Spanish forwards.

The Spanish – as is their way – will take nothing less than three points to recover the initiative in Group I with three matches remaining.

'The only thing that changes is that a draw with France now isn't enough,' Cesc Fabregas said. 'But the idea was always to go to France aiming for a victory.

'We will be highly motivated and we will have to bring out the best in ourselves.'

Draw is not enough: Cesc Fabregas, in action here in the return fixture in Gijon, says Spain will be going all out for the win

Draw is not enough: Cesc Fabregas, in action here in the return fixture in Gijon, says Spain will be going all out for the win

European World Cup qualifying Group I

Turning possession into goals is Spain's priority and the country's all-time leading scorer David Villa, who netted on their last visit to Paris in a 2-0 friendly victory in 2010, was confident of success.

'We were going there for a win anyway and now we do so with a stronger motive,' the Barcelona striker said after the Finland game.

'Our way of playing is always the same. Even if we had beaten Finland we would have played the same in Saint-Denis. We aren't thinking of the playoffs, or anything else beyond getting a win against France on Tuesday.'

When Spain beat Italy to win their third straight major title at last year's European Championship, it was unthinkable they could be absent from the Rio football carnival.

Following a run of 24 consecutive qualifying wins, they have slumped to back-to-back draws with France and Finland, having beaten Georgia and Belarus earlier in the campaign.

For once, Spain appear to be there for the taking, though much will depend on striker Benzema, who has scored just three times in his last 23 outings for France.

Certain sections of the French media have called for him to be dropped as a result, but Deschamps has no such intention.

'I believe in Karim,' he said unequivocally.

Thankfully for Deschamps, other sectors of the French attack are in full flow, with winger Franck Ribery and attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena in excellent form – particularly Valbuena, who scored a great goal against Georgia and created the other two.

'We ask attacking players to be decisive, and Valbuena is just that,' Deschamps said. 'He's full of confidence and it shows.'

Jubilation: Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery celebrate after the former scores against Georgia

Jubilation: Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery celebrate after the former scores against Georgia

Dropped points: Cazorla and teammates at the end of Spain's 1-1 draw with Finland on Friday evening

Dropped points: Cazorla and teammates at the end of Spain's 1-1 draw with Finland on Friday evening

Deschamps has high praise for Giroud, too, but suggested he could be more useful using his aerial threat against a tiring defence.

'He has that ability, and that's a weapon I can obviously use at any time,' Deschamps said.

Spain's Santi Cazorla knows all about Giroud, playing alongside him for Arsenal, and considers him to be an equal threat to Benzema.

'They are very different. Olivier has killer instincts, a penalty box player,' Cazorla said. 'Karim is a playmaker, he enters in open play more. They are two great players.'

Probable teams:

France: Hugo Lloris; Christophe Jallet, Mamadou Sakho, Raphael Varane, Patrice Evra; Moussa Sissoko, Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Valbuena, Franck Ribery; Karim Benzema

Spain: Victor Valdes; Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Nacho Monreal; Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta; Cesc Fabregas, David Villa

Wilfried Bony chased by West Ham, Fulham, Stoke and Everton

Trio of Premier League sides join West Ham in race for 12m-rated Ivorian hitman Bony

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 24 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 25 March 2013

Premier League clubs are bettling each other race to sign scoring sensation Wilfried Bony, who is pushing for a move to the English top flight next season.

The Ivory Coast striker, rated at around 12million, has been in prolific from for Vitesse Arnhem this season and is the top scorer in Holland with 26 goals in 24 league games.

His contract runs until 2015 but Sportsmail understands his agent is in talks with at least four Premier League clubs — West Ham, Fulham, Stoke and Everton — and hopes to complete a deal by the end of the week.

Strike rate: Bony (right), seen here in action for Ivory Coast, has scored 26 goals in 24 games this term

Strike rate: Bony (right), seen here in action for Ivory Coast, has scored 26 goals in 24 games this term

Eredivisie: Top 5

The 24-year-old tried to leave Vitesse
in January, but the club held firm and insisted he continued to help
the club push for a Champions League spot for next season.

Since his 4million move from Sparta
Prague at the beginning of 2011, Bony has scored 46 times in 63
appearances for Vitesse — including an amazing recent run which has seen
him net 10 goals in his last six games.

Were West Ham to land him for around
12m it would smash their previous transfer record of buying Matt Jarvis
from Wolves for 10.75m.

Bony learned the game by playing
street football called ‘Maracana’, competing in city competitions before
spending three years at the Cyrille Domoraud football Academy located
in the city of Bingerville, in south-east Ivory Coast.

Options: Sam Allardyce will be looking for more firepower, with his side netting just 32 goals this season

Options: Sam Allardyce will be looking for more firepower, with his side netting just 32 goals this season

Rickie Lambert agrees new deal with Southampton until 2016

Lambert 'over the moon' after agreeing new two-year deal with Southampton

By
Simon Peach, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

18:40 GMT, 21 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 21 March 2013

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has extended his stay at the club until 2016.

The 31-year-old has established himself as a firm fans' favourite at St Mary's since joining from Bristol Rovers in August 2009.

Lambert has scored 101 goals for Southampton and his 13-goal haul this season makes him the top English scorer in the Barclays Premier League.

Delight: Rickie Lambert was 'over the moon' to agree a fresh deal with Southampton

Delight: Rickie Lambert was 'over the moon' to agree a fresh deal with Southampton

The striker's contract had been due to expire at the end of next season but has now been extended by a further two years.

'I'm over the moon to sign with Southampton for another three years,' Lambert told the club's official website.

'I am already enjoying myself massively at this club and the aim now is to stay on for another three years and help push the club on further than where it already is.

'There is a lot of ambition in this club for the next few years and that is one of the main reasons that I have signed the contract – and that is why I want to end my career here.

'The core of players who have been together for two or three years are going to be here for another three or four years and that is a really good feeling.

'We all have the same ambition and [executive chairman] Nicola Cortese's ambition for this club drives us all on as well, so it really helps the club with where we are now and it will help with where we want to go.'

Lambert's contract extension follows recent new deals handed to Morgan Schneiderlin, Jason Puncheon and Kelvin Davis – others to have played a key part in Southampton's rise from npower League One to the top flight.

'Rickie Lambert is a very special player for Southampton Football Club,' Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

Goal scorer: Lambert's strike against Liverpool on Saturday was his 13th in the Premier League this season

Goal scorer: Lambert's strike against Liverpool on Saturday was his 13th in the Premier League this season

Lambert

He added: 'To have scored over 100 goals is a remarkable achievement, and one which he has made possible thanks to hard work and dedication.

'In my time at the club I have been impressed by his mentality and commitment to improving himself in training – attributes that have allowed him to adapt to the Premier League so well.

'I am delighted that Rickie has committed himself to the club for a further three years, and have no doubts that he will continue to deliver for Southampton as we look to push on to the next level.'

Jose Mourinho watches Galatasaray before Real Madrid game

Mourinho spies on Galatasaray as Madrid's European opponents put on show

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

16:30 GMT, 17 March 2013

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UPDATED:

06:00 GMT, 18 March 2013

Jose Mourinho hopped on a plane just hours after his Real Madrid side thrashed Mallorca to check out his side's Champions League quarter-final opponents Galatasaray.

Mourinho, who is looking to win the competition for the third time with his third different club, made the dash to to see the Turkish giants take on Kayserispor.

And he will have been impressed with what he saw as the visitors ran out 3-1 winners thanks to a brace from Champions League top scorer Burak Yilmaz and a strike from Wesley Sneijder.

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho holds a bunch of flowers

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho holds a bunch of flowers

Welcome gift: Jose Mourinho arrives in Turkey before watching Galatasaray beat Kayserispor

Danny Welbeck pleased with how far he has progressed at Manchester United

Madrid goal has given me the motivation to achieve more, says Welbeck

, given Welbeck has tended to reserve his most productive displays for times when he has been on England duty.

However, it would now be something of a surprise if Sir Alex Ferguson left the 22-year-old out of his starting line-up at Old Trafford next week.

Not bad for a youngster brought up in the same Longsight district of Manchester as Wes Brown, born of parents who both hail from Ghana.

'It was a great feeling to get a goal at the Bernabeu,' said Welbeck.

'The whole occasion was immense, with the number of fans who travelled over and with it being such a big game.

Heads up: Danny Welbeck puts United ahead against Real Madrid

Heads up: Danny Welbeck puts United ahead against Real Madrid

'There was a little part of me thinking I have come a long way in a short space of time.
'But it is something I strived for since I was a little kid.

'I really wanted to play for Manchester United and that was one of the biggest games, so part of me did feel proud.

'But it also gave me the motivation to carry on and try to strive for more.'

Welbeck's lack of goals is rather strange considering he was England's top scorer in 2012 and has never previously found it a problem, even if he is not amongst the most prolific members of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad.

The answer, in his view, is simple, and comes from the role he was asked to carry out in the first leg; out wide, trying to counter whilst not forgetting defensive duties against a side so dangerous on the counter-attack.

'I have not really played in my favourite position,' he said. 'I like to play as a striker but a lot of the time I have been out wide.

'I would like to get more goals, but it is obviously more difficult to get them when you are playing in wider areas.”

Wayne Rooney has been given the same duties on a regular basis during his United career.

Indeed, he was repeating the job Welbeck was doing on the left down United's right-hand flank in Madrid last month, underlining his own selfless contribution to the cause.

It is anticipated more will be demanded of Rooney in attack at Old Trafford, which may mean a switch inside in preference to Shinji Kagawa, who nearly made an impact at the Bernabeu without actually managing it.

That move would possibly trigger a recall for Antonio Valencia, although clearly Ferguson does have options, as he does in the form of Tom Cleverley, Ryan Giggs and Anderson in central midfield if Phil Jones fails to recover from an ankle injury.

'It is the part of the season everyone looks forward to,' said Jonny Evans.

'We are involved in everything and the competitions are all coming in one week.

'The league is the one everyone wants to win but if you asked any player in the Premier League, they would want to play in the Champions League.

Getting on: Welbeck replaces Van Persie to take his chance

Getting on: Welbeck replaces Van Persie to take his chance

'Being at Manchester United, you want that every single season and matches against teams like Real Madrid are ones you need to cherish.

'But we can't just think about what a fantastic occasion it is. We also need to perform.'

Hull 1 Blackburn 0 match report: Rovers come back to earth as Gedo blaster keeps Tigers in the hunt

Hull 1 Blackburn 0: Rovers come back to earth as Gedo blaster keeps Tigers in the hunt

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 19 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 19 February 2013

Mohamed Gedo — remember the name. At this rate you’ll be hearing it a great deal more between now and the end of the season.

For the third time in a week, the 28-year-old Egypt international opened the scoring at the KC Stadium to put second-placed Hull on their way.

Following strikes in wins against
Derby and Charlton, Gedo altered the contest against Blackburn,
eliminators of Arsenal from the FA Cup. He ghosted in at the far post to
guide in Stephen Quinn’s dink to the far post.

Get in: Hull striker Gedo (centre) celebrates his third goal in as many games

Get in: Hull striker Gedo (centre) celebrates his third goal in as many games

Match facts

Hull: Stockdale, Chester, Hobbs, Bruce, Elmohamady, Meyler, Evans (Olofinjana 88), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Fathi 90), Gedo (Cairney 89). Subs not used: Jakupovic, Rosenior, Simpson, Proschwitz.
Booked: Evans.

Goals: Gedo 52, Elmohamady 67.

Blackburn:
Kean, Orr, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson, Williamson (Campbell 59),
Lowe, Murphy, Rekik (Bentley 59), Rhodes, Kazim-Richards. Subs not used: Usai, Givet, Pedersen, Markus Olsson, Nuno Gomes.

Booked: Kazim-Richards, Orr, Martin Olsson, Rekik.

Attendance: 15,981.

Referee: Tim Robinson.

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

His acquisition, on loan from Al
Ahly, has provided the East Yorkshire club with the firepower they have
lacked since top scorer Sone Aluko was sidelined through injury. Once
ahead there was only going to be one result, and it was no surprise when
another of Hull’s Egyptian trio, Ahmed Elmohamady, arrived to sidefoot
in Robbie Brady’s raking cross from the left.

‘We needed someone to come in and for
him to get three in three has been the icing on the cake for us,’ said
Hull manager Steve Bruce. ‘I know he’ll hit a wall but hopefully with
the sun shining as we get into spring, he will thrive.’

A fortnight ago, Hull trailed both
Cardiff and Leicester but results since have seen them narrow the Welsh
club’s lead to five points and return to the automatic promotion places.

‘It’s quite refreshing for the League
because nobody really fancied Crystal Palace, Watford and ourselves, so
it’s fair play to all three,’ Bruce added.

‘That’s the best we have played this
year. It was a complete performance from start to finish. There was a
hunger and freshness about us from back to front. We have good energy
levels and some of them look as if they can run a million miles.’

Two outstanding saves from young
Blackburn goalkeeper Jake Kean denied David Meyler in either half to
restrict Hull’s winning margin to two.

Crunching: Corry Evans goes in hard on Colin Kazim-Richards

Crunching: Corry Evans goes in hard on Colin Kazim-Richards

In contrast, Blackburn’s attacking
players had a wretched night, particularly DJ Campbell, whose decision
to snub promotion-chasing Hull on transfer-deadline day three weeks ago,
drew boos for his every mistake after coming on as a substitute on the
hour.

Fellow striker Colin Kazim-Richards,
scorer of the winning goal at the Emirates, had the visitors’ solitary
chance but Hull goalkeeper David Stockdale parried his fourth-minute
effort before scooping up the rebound ahead of the predatory Jordan
Rhodes.

‘Obviously after the euphoria of the
weekend there was always a danger the players would not be able to pick
themselves up and repeat that type of performance,’ said Blackburn
manager Michael Appleton.

In fact, Turkey international
Kazim-Richards was fortunate to remain on the field until the interval
after escaping cautions for shoving Alex Bruce in the chest and
wrestling Meyler to the turf either side of receiving a yellow card from
referee Tim Robinson for an aerial challenge on Jack Hobbs.

Rafael Nadal inspired by Ronaldo

Nadal takes inspiration from Ronaldo after Brazil legend watches Rafa's winning return

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:52 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rafael Nadal is drawing inspiration from Brazilian football great Ronaldo to continue his successful return from injury.

With Ronaldo watching, Nadal took an important step on Sunday by winning the Brazil Open for his first title after a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee. Now he wants to repeat the Brazilian’s successful story of recovery from much more serious injuries.

Nadal said Ronaldo is “an example” to be followed because of his determination to rebound from a series of knee injuries that threatened his career.

Fan: Former footballer Ronaldo (left) watched Rafael Nadal with Brazilian mixed martial artist Anderson Silva

Fan: Former footballer Ronaldo (left) watched Rafael Nadal with Brazilian mixed martial artist Anderson Silva

Despite winning again, the Spaniard is still bothered by his knee and said he is far from fully recovered, although he hopes the victory in front of Ronaldo will mark a new beginning in his career.

'Ronaldo is an example to a lot of people because of all that he was able to achieve despite what he had to go through with all the knee problems in his career,' Nadal said. 'He is definitely an example to me. He’s an example of determination and hard work.'

Ronaldo ended his career as one of the world’s top strikers after overcoming three serious knee operations. The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan striker won two World Cups with Brazil and remains the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 15 goals.

Nadal said he has always admired Ronaldo, and as a kid proudly took a photo with the striker when he played for Barcelona in the late 1990s.

'He was unstoppable, one of the best players of all time despite all the bad luck he had with the knee,' Nadal said.

The Spaniard was out of action since last year because a torn and inflamed tendon in his knee, an injury that he says is improving but still bothers him from time to time. He downplayed his difficulties compared to Ronaldo’s, but said he now has a better understanding of what the Brazilian had to go through.

'I didn’t have so many problems, I never needed the surgeries,' Nadal said. 'But I can imagine how hard it must have been for Ronaldo with the complicated surgeries that he had to go through.'

Taste of victory: Nadal bites the trophy of the Brazil Open after beating David Nalbandian

Taste of victory: Nadal bites the trophy of the Brazil Open after beating David Nalbandian

Nadal beat former world No. 3 David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 in Brazil on Sunday, winning his 51st career title and first since beating Novak Djokovic to lift his seventh Roland Garros trophy last June.

The Brazil Open was Nadal’s second tournament since his return. He played at the VTR Open in Chile the week before, losing the singles and doubles final. The final in Brazil was only his eighth singles match since the comeback. He withdrew from the doubles in Sao Paulo to rest his knee for the singles tournament.

Nadal looked far from his best in his first two tournaments and said that the knee injury still limited him physically.

'There are days that the knee still hurts and it’s very complicated,' he said. 'I need some time to keep improving and become more competitive again. Let’s see how it goes.'

Road to recovery: Nadal found some form in Sao Paulo yesterday

Road to recovery: Nadal found some form in Sao Paulo yesterday

The 11-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the level of the competition in Brazil was not as high as in other tournaments but said that it wasn’t bad either, giving him the perfect opportunity to put his knee to test.

Nadal will play another clay-court tournament in Mexico later this month and the goal is to be fully fit again by the time Roland Garros arrives in May, although his future schedule will depend on how the knee holds up. He had intended to play in Indian Wells in March, but on Sunday said that he won’t know whether he will make it until closer to the tournament.

'We are thinking day-to-day, week-to-week,' the 26-year-old Nadal said. 'We’ll see how I feel before making a decision on where I’ll be playing in the near future, it will depend on how the knee improves.'

Andreas Weimann Aston Villa contract talks open

Aston Villa open contract talks with promising young striker Weimann

By
John Curtis, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

10:19 GMT, 26 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 26 January 2013

Contract talks: Weimann (right)

Contract talks: Weimann (right)

Aston Villa have held initial discussions with striker Andreas Weimann over a new contract.

Weimann has 18 months left of his current deal and Villa are hoping to secure the long-term future of the Austria international.

The 21-year-old broke into the first team last season and scored a vital injury-time winner against Fulham as the midlands club stayed up by only two points.

But it is during the current campaign that he has made a sustained impact and is their second top scorer with nine goals.

Weimann has formed a productive partnership with 11-goal Christian Benteke and the duo have kept record signing Darren Bent out of the side for lengthy periods.

Weimann's form has been one of the few highlights in a dismal season in which Villa are involved in another relegation fight and suffered a double cup exit to lower-league Bradford and Millwall.

His tally includes a double in the 3-2 defeat against Manchester United and another in the 3-1 win at Liverpool.

Impact: Weimann has been a standout performer for Villa this year

Impact: Weimann has been a standout performer for Villa this year

Villa boss Paul Lambert recently described Weimann as a 'natural finisher.'

He said: 'The way Andreas conducts himself on the pitch and in training is excellent.

'He has been really on top of his game and taken his chance in the first team.'

Weimann joined Villa as a 16-year-old from Rapid Vienna and had two spells on loan at Watford before before signing a new three-year deal with his parent club in August 2011.

He won his first senior cap for his country against Kazakhstan in October.