Tag Archives: trouble

Alex McLeish set to beat Roy Keane to Nottingham Forest job

McLeish emerges as the favourite to take Forest job ahead of old boy Keane

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UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 27 December 2012

Alex McLeish has emerged as a serious contender for the vacant Nottingham Forest post after bookmakers slashed his odds this morning.

The former Aston Villa boss was a rank outsider with Roy Keane leading the running for the post which was surprisingly left open following Sean O'Driscoll's shock departure.

McLeish has been out of work for eight months after losing his job at Villa Park. However, with Blackburn Rovers also looking for a manger, the Scot is also likely to be interested in a position at Ewood Park.

Wanted: McLeish has been out of a job since he was sacked as manager of Aston Villa on the final day of last season

Wanted: McLeish has been out of a job since he was sacked as manager of Aston Villa on the final day of last season

The ex-Villa and Birmingham City chief retains a base in the Midlands and would have little trouble stepping into the role after Forest's owners, the Al-Hasawis, took the decision to axe O'Driscoll and his odds have tumbled this morning.

Out of the running: Roy Keane attended Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds yesterday

Out of the running: Roy Keane attended Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds yesterday

The Kuwaitis have confirmed that they have a meeting with a manager of Premier League experience today and that points towards McLeish being the man most likely at present to succeed O'Driscoll.

However Keane, who was in the crowd to watch Forest defeat Leeds 4-2 yesterday, is aso out-of-work following his sacking by Ipswich Town and remains among the favourites with the bookmakers for the role.

Simon Whitlock advances in the World Darts Championship after beating Haruki Muramatsu

Magic! The Wizard wins with an easy victory over Muramatsu

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UPDATED:

01:02 GMT, 20 December 2012

Former World Championship finalist Simon Whitlock barely broke sweat on day six at Alexandra Palace as he breezed past Japanese qualifier Haruki Muramatsu 3-0.

The Wizard averaged 95.5 as he brushed aside the spirited Muramatsu in straight sets and moved into the second round of the World Darts Championship, where he will play Colin Osborne.

There was some uncharacteristic double trouble for Whitlock in the first leg as a hat-trick of missed double 10s allowed the Japanese player to take an early lead.

No sweat: Simon The Wizard Whitlock barely broke sweat as he breezed past Haruki Muramatsu 3-0 in the World Darts Championship

No sweat: Simon The Wizard Whitlock barely broke sweat as he breezed past Haruki Muramatsu 3-0 in the World Darts Championship

But after hitting double 10 at the third attempt in leg two, The Wizard eased to a one-set lead as he hit a 13-dart finish in leg three before a double 16 in leg four to seal the set 3-1.

The pair held their own throw at the start of the second leg, before the Aussie moved ahead with a 48 checkout in leg three. Whitlock then secured the second set by the same 3-1 margin as the first with a 116 finish in leg four.

And Whitlock won the third set 3-1 as well as he secured the crucial break in leg three before finishing the match with a double 18 finish.

Home time: Dennis The Menace lost 3-1 to Ronnie The Rocket Baxter (below)

Home time: Dennis The Menace lost 3-1 to Ronnie The Rocket Baxter (below)

Ronnie Baxter

Ronnie Baxter also won on Wednesday night as he got the better of two-time world champion Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestley 3-1.

The Rocket went two sets up and, after losing the third set in a deciding leg, closed out a four-set win against Priestley.

Baxter did the damage early on as he hit a 13-dart leg on the way to taking the opening set 3-1.

But The Menace had chances of his own as he missed two shots to win the second set, in the fourth leg, before losing it 3-2.

The third set also went to a deciding leg as this time it was Baxter’s turn to miss opportunities. The Rocket let five chances to take the match slip through his fingers and, as a result, was stretched to a fourth set.

But then it was Priestley’s turn to spurn opportunities and there was no coming back this time. After making a strong start to the set, Priestley missed four shots at a double to extend the match into a final set which left Baxter to seal the win by hitting double 10 in the deciding leg of set four.

Scare: Colin Lloyd had a massive scare against the American Darin Young but Jaws eventually won 3-2

Scare: Colin Lloyd had a massive scare against the American Darin Young but Jaws eventually won 3-2

2002 world finalist Colin Lloyd survived a massive scare as he beat American Darin Young 3-2 to set up a second round tie with former BDO world champion Mark Webster.

It was a match that swung one way and then another but Jaws eventually prevailed 6-4 in a dramatic fifth set.

Young took the opening set with a 144 checkout in leg four before Lloyd responded to take the second set in a deciding leg.

And, after a break each followed by a hold of throw apiece, Young hit double 16 to win the deciding leg of set three to take a 2-1 lead.

But the 2005 World Matchplay champion quickly wiped out the deficit as he took the fourth set 3-0 to send the match into a decider. Jaws held his own throw in the opening leg and then hit double 16 to break in leg two before a clinical 124 checkout sealed the set and brought him level.

And Lloyd appeared to be cruising towards victory as he broke in the opening leg of set five before a 64 checkout moved him 2-0 up.

But the drama had only just begun as Young won the next leg before capitalising on Lloyd’s missed 68 finish in leg four to level at 2-2 with a 77 checkout.

Jaws then went back ahead with a 51 checkout to break but the American followed up with a 115 checkout of his own and the players were locked at 3-3.

Dominant: Justin Pipe (pictured) won with an easy victory over Andy Jenkins

Dominant: Justin Pipe (pictured) won with an easy victory over Andy Jenkins

DAY SIX RESULTS

Justin Pipe 3-0 Andy Jenkins
Ronnie Baxter 3-1 Dennis Priestley
Colin Lloyd 3-2 Darin Young
Simon Whitlock 3-0 Haruki Muramatsu

But, after Young won the seventh leg to move 4-3 ahead, Lloyd reeled off three straight legs to seal a tense 6-4 final-set win.

In Wednesday’s other match, Justin Pipe started the night with a dominant 3-0 win over Andy Jenkins.

The 41-year-old from Taunton won the first two sets without dropping a leg before completing his easy victory with a 3-2 third-set win.

Thursday sees the remaining four first round matches take place with Dutch duo Vincent van der Voort and World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen topping the bill. Kim Huybrechts is also in action before round two begins on Friday afternoon at Ally Pally.

Jimmy Kebe blames Reading owner Anton Zingarevich Premier League slump

Stop the rot and buy someone! Kebe blames Reading owner Zingarevich for slump to bottom of Premier League table

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 18 December 2012

Jimmy Kebe has launched a scathing attack on Reading owner Anton Zingarevich and blamed him for the club's dismal league form.

He admitted Reading are only 'a good Championship team' and will only stay up if the Russian, who took over the club in May, spends money in the January transfer window.

The Royals are bottom of the league, six points from safety and have lost six matches in a row. And Kebe blames the club's owner who invested barely any money on transfers over the summer.

Basement boys: Santi Cazorla hit a hat-trick for Arsenal as Reading crashed to another heavy defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night

Basement boys: Santi Cazorla hit a hat-trick for Arsenal as Reading crashed to another heavy defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night

Basement boys: Santi Cazorla hit a hat-trick for Arsenal as Reading crashed to another heavy defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night

Time to splash the cash Reading's Russian billionaire owner Anton Zingarevich

Time to splash the cash Reading's Russian billionaire owner Anton Zingarevich

The 28-year-old, who has been at Reading for four years, fumed: 'We're bottom of the table and you can see straight away that we are in big trouble. We are trying to do our best, but let's be honest we look like a good Championship team. We are a good Championship team trying to compete in the Premier League – that's it.

'For me we should have bought some decent players during the transfer window. Don't get me wrong, I like my team-mates and we are working hard for each other and we brought some good players – but there is a big difference between being in the Championship and the Premier League.

READING'S TERRIBLE MONTH
1st Dec Reading 3 – 4 Man United
8th Dec Southampton 1 – 0 Reading
11th Dec Sunderland 3 – 0 Reading
17th Dec Reading 2 – 5 Arsenal 22nd Dec Man city v Reading26th Dec Reading v Swansea29th Dec Reading v West Ham

'There is nothing to expect if you don't spend any money to make the team better. Right now we are trying to fight our best and we won't give up – but there is nothing to expect.'

'Someone bought the club last season.
We won the Championship – so surely we need to add decent players. We
have some good players, but it wasn't enough and we knew it. We're
behind the manager and we are trying our best. There is no miracle in
football.'

Consolation: Jimmy Kebe hit the target for Reading in the defeat by Arsenal

Consolation: Jimmy Kebe hit the target for Reading in the defeat by Arsenal

Reading manager Brian McDermott has his eye on signing two or three players with Premier League experience in January to try to save their season.

But they have a torrid period of festive fixtures. Before the window opens and they can sign anyone they face Manchester City and Tottenham away and Swansea and West Ham at the Madejski Stadium, teams all in the top half of the table.

Kebe argued the dire position they are in is not the fault of the players or manager and that Zingarevich needs to put his hand in his pocket if they want any chance of staying in the Premier League.

He added: 'You should ask [the owner] but I think he has the money. It's not the manager who decides who he can buy or not. Right now we are in big trouble so you should ask if he wants to spend any money to make the team better so we can compete in the Premier League.

Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis flattered by Liverpool and Chelsea interest

Lyon striker Gomis flattered by Liverpool and Chelsea interest

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UPDATED:

01:31 GMT, 18 December 2012

Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis is delighted by the interest being shown in him by Premier League giants Chelsea and Liverpool.

According to reports in France, the Blues and the Reds are ready to fight it out to sign the Lyon forward in the January transfer window.

Gomis told Canal+: 'I'm happy, but if it is for my interest, and the three parties are okay and I can progress, then yes. The interest is flattering.

Gomis is flattered with his link to Liverpool and Chelsea

Gomis is flattered with his link to Liverpool and Chelsea

'These are big names [Liverpool and
Chelsea]. But I do not pollute my mind with the idea of a departure.
Anything can go very quickly in football.'

Canal
Plus claim that both clubs sent scouts to watch the 27-year-old France
international in Sunday night's clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Gomis has scored 10 goals in 17 games this season to help the club keep up their challenge at the top of Ligue 1.

Lyon are in financial trouble and sold France No 1 Hugo Lloris to Tottenham in the summer to ease the strain.

Chelsea are known to be in the market for a striker with Fernando Torres under no real pressure for a starting place.

The only other striker in Chelsea's squad, Daniel Sturridge, is expected to leave the club during the next transfer window with Anfield his most likely destination.

But should Liverpool not agree a deal with Chelsea for the young England forward they are likely to ramp up their interest in Gomis.

Bafetimbi Gomis set to spark transfer tussle between Chelsea and Liverpool

Chelsea and Liverpool braced for transfer tussle over France striker Gomis

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UPDATED:

10:02 GMT, 17 December 2012

Chelsea and Liverpool are ready to fight it out for the signature of Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis in the January transfer window, according to reports in France.

Canal Plus claim that both clubs sent scouts to watch the 27-year-old France international in Sunday night's clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Reports suggest that the Blues are already in negotiations with Lyon over Gomis, who has been likened to Didier Drogba in style.

Attracting attention: Bafetimbi Gomis has been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea

Attracting attention: Bafetimbi Gomis has been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea

Gomis has scored 10 goals in 17 games this season to help the club keep up their challenge at the top of Ligue 1.

Lyon are in financial trouble and sold France No 1 Hugo Lloris to Tottenham in the summer to ease the strain.

Chelsea are known to be in the market for a striker with Fernando Torres under no real pressure for a starting place.

The only other striker in Chelsea's squad, Daniel Sturridge, is expected to leave the club during the next transfer window with Anfield his most likely destination.

But should Liverpool not agree a deal with Chelsea for the young England forward they are likely to ramp up their interest in Gomis.

German FA get tough on crowd trouble and BAN Dynamo Dresden from DFB-Pokal cup

German FA get tough on crowd trouble and BAN Dresden from cup (… and isn't it time the FA followed suit)

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UPDATED:

17:02 GMT, 11 December 2012

If the FA are searching for some guidance on the way to deal with the violence, racism and sickening chanting blighting English football grounds, then they need look no further than their German counterparts.

The German Football Association (DFB) have excluded second division club Dynamo Dresden from the German equivalent of the FA Cup for one season as a punishment for persistent crowd disturbances at matches.

Dynamo Dresden will not be permitted to compete in the DFB-Pokal next season after their supporters set off flares and caused damages in the second round clash against Hannover at the Nierdersachsenstadion in October.

Dead serious: Dynamo Dresden fans demonstrate against the DFB measures

Dead serious: Dynamo Dresden fans demonstrate against the DFB measures

'The punishment for Dresden boils down to the many previous incidents and the extent of the disturbances at the cup game in Hannover,' said the DFB's sports court judge Hans E. Lorenz.

'Such attacks on stadia are attacks on football in general which require consequential action.

'Last year, we warned them explicitly that they risked being excluded from the competition after incidents in Dortmund.'

At Dortmund last year, a 200-strong mob of Dresden fans invaded the pitch after their team lost a penalty shootout, while a series of clashes took place between the rival fans outside of the stadium.

And the Germans have had enough. So they have acted to prevent any repeat.

FA must follow German lead and stamp out this cancer

The German FA's action against Dynamo Dresden is a powerful stance. And one which sends out a message to say that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

On a weekend that saw shame’s dark
cloud once again inhabit English football at the Etihad Stadium, is it
time that the English FA followed the stance taken by their German
friends and took a decidedly stronger position against such shameful
actions

During Sunday’s Manchester derby
alone, Manchester City fans launched blue flares onto the pitch, and
hurled coins at Manchester United players, one of which struck near Rio
Ferdinand’s eye.

If such thuggery was not already
damaging enough to the image of our national game, a 15-year-old boy has
also been arrested for allegedly sending racist tweets to Ferdinand.

Bloody mess: Rio Ferdinand after the shameful conclusion to the Manchester derby

Bloody mess: Rio Ferdinand was cut during the shameful conclusion to the Manchester derby

On the pitch, the players are hardly
setting the tone for better behaviour from the fans, with Gareth Barry
today charged by the FA for verbally abusing an official at the
Manchester derby.

It is not only Manchester City fans
and players at fault. All Premier League teams have those players who
scowl and swear viciously at referees, turning the television air blue
by mouthing expletives.

John Obi Mikel storming into Mark
Clattenburg’s changing room to confront the referee in the aftermath of
Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat in October merited more than the three-game
suspension that he received from the FA, regardless of any conviction he
may have held that he had been racially abused.

In the stands this season, Liverpool
fans have booed Patrice Evra, purely because he was the victim of racial
abuse at the hands of Luis Suarez, while Chelsea fans taunted Rio
Ferdinand because he is the brother of Anton, who suffered racial abuse dished out by John Terry.

Elsewhere, at Old Trafford, a
minority of Manchester United fans have sung about the Hillsborough
disaster and shamefully taunted Arsene Wenger, while a
section of West Ham fans informed Tottenham supporters that 'Adolf Hitler is
coming to get you…' in anti-Semitic chants last month.

The punishments have been timid to
non-existent. Referees continue to allow players to escape without
punishment for using offensive and abusive language, while the FA rarely
tackle the issue retrospectively.

Manchester United were not even
charged for the disgusting chants comparing Wenger to Jimmy
Savile while the FA are still yet to deliver a verdict on the
chants sung by West Ham.

It is not good enough. There are too
many honest fans who are passionate but law-abiding citizens,
whose good names are being besmirched by a minority of out-of-control
scum.

Perhaps it is time that the FA follow
the lead of the Germans and start to deal more convincingly with the
cancer poisoning English football.

Adam Crafton

Lionel Messi beats Muller"s goalscoring record as 86th strike of 2012 opens scoring for Barcelona at Real Betis

EIGHT SIX goals in ONE year… and he's not done yet! Messi breaks Muller record with early double strike against Betis

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UPDATED:

21:25 GMT, 9 December 2012

MESSI SPECIAL

Click here for Sportmail's month-by-month, goal-by-goal video, picture and stats special to mark Messi's achievement

Lionel Messi has surpassed Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals for club and country in a calendar year after scoring twice in the opening 25 minutes for Barcelona against Real Betis.

The Argentinian, who started the match on 84 goals, required just 15 minutes to break the deadlock and equal the record.

Collecting the ball on the inside right channel, he drove diagonally into the penalty area, beating three defenders before picking out the bottom corner.

His 86th arrived ten minutes later in a move he started and finished before firing the ball into the same corner.

Messi has also become Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga, with his tally now standing on 192, two ahead of Cesar Rodriguez.

Messi has been in hot pursuit of Muller's record, set in 1972 when he scored 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in all competitions.

Record breaker: Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes to get the two goals he needed to break Gerd Muller's calendar year goalscoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes to get the two goals he needed to break Gerd Muller's calendar year goalscoring record

Double trouble: Messi scored the two goals after 15 and 25 minutes as Barcelona seized control of their match at Real Betis

Double trouble: Messi scored the two goals after 15 and 25 minutes as Barcelona seized control of their match at Real Betis

Teamwork: Messi is congratulated by his Barcelona teammates after breaking the record

Teamwork: Messi is congratulated by his Barcelona teammates after breaking the record

There had been some doubt about
whether Messi would make the team after bruising his left knee in the
midweek Champions League draw with Benfica.

But he was able to train with his
teammates on Saturday after making a swift recovery and coach Tito
Vilanova passed him fit to make the journey to Seville.

Barcelona can establish a six-point lead at the top of La Liga if they beat fifth-place Betis.

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Rafa Benitez appoints Boudewijn Zenden as his Chelsea No 2

Rafa 1 Roman 0: Benitez forces Abramovich to bring in Zenden as his No 2… but there could be trouble brewing over new staff

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 22 November 2012

Rafa Benitez has struck an early blow in his dealings with Roman Abramovich after Chelsea's ruthless owner bowed to the Spaniard's demands and allowed him to bring in Boudewijn Zenden as his No 2.

Benitez, who is being unveiled at a 5.30pm press conference, has been appointed interim manager in the wake of Roberto Di Matteo’s brutal dismissal and met Chelsea’s shell-shocked players today.

And he has brought former Chelsea player Zenden, who played under the Spaniard at Liverpool, as his assistant. It is his first coaching role since retiring from football.

Benitez has also been allowed to recruit a fitness coach and a goalkeeper coach – but the new arrivals might not please everyone at Stamford Bridge. Petr Cech for one insists on only working with coach Christian Lollichon.

Scroll down for video…

Welcome back: Boudewijn Zenden spent three seasons at Chelsea

Welcome back: Boudewijn Zenden spent three seasons at Chelsea

Reunited: Zenden played under Rafa Benitez during his time at Liverpool

Reunited: Zenden played under Rafa Benitez during his time at Liverpool

Chelsea in chaos

SIMON JONES: Why Rafa Benitez is now ready to lead Chelsea after his previous snub

NEIL ASHTON: How Chelsea approached Guardiola a MONTH ago…

ANDY TOWNSEND: The uneasy atmosphere at Chelsea's team hotel in Turin

JOHN EDWARDS: Trophies, turmoil and constant sackings! Inside the crazy world of Roman's Chelsea

JON DOLAN: The Chelsea season ticket holder's view on Rafa Benitez

Zenden spent three seasons at Stamford
Bridge after signing from Barcelona in 2001. He left to join
Middlesbrough but signed for Liverpool under Benitez a year later.

He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight [to London],' Zenden's agent and father Pierre Zenden told VI.nl.

'Since yesterday he phoned Benitez many times. I assume that he will be on the pitch this afternoon, together with the manager. I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez.'

Zenden famously made himself look a little daft celebrating a Sunderland goal AGAINST Chelsea when Asamoah Gyan jigged with joy. Bolo struck a bum note – as shown in the first video below.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed
yesterday that Di Matteo was to be sacked and replaced by Benitez after
Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat against Juventus. The axe duly fell at the club’s
training ground in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Owner
Roman Abramovich wants former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola to be Di
Matteo’s long-term successor, and has offered to make him the
highest-paid manager in the world on 15million a year.

Guardiola’s representatives say he will not make a decision on his future until the new year, but it is understood a deal with Chelsea has been agreed in principle. He was approached after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on October 23.

Benitez, who is unpopular with Chelsea fans because of his time as Liverpool manager, will take charge of his first game against Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Fans reacted angrily to his appointment, with Chelsea Supporters Group chair Trizia Fiorellino telling Radio5 Live: ‘Chelsea pulled the rug from under Roberto Di Matteo, which was just ludicrous. Now they have got in someone of Benitez’s calibre. He is a poor manager. Nobody has wanted to employ him for two years. What does that tell you He is the wrong choice for Chelsea and the fans do not want him.’

VIDEO: If rhythm is a dancer, Bolo's definitely a chancer…

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Win them over: Chelsea fans have always enjoyed a frosty relationship with Rafa Benitez

Win them over: Chelsea fans have always enjoyed a frosty relationship with Rafa Benitez

Win them over: Chelsea fans have always enjoyed a frosty relationship with Benitez, who faced no more than five managers at Stamford Bridge

Win them over: Chelsea fans have always enjoyed a frosty relationship with Benitez, who faced no more than five managers at Stamford Bridge

The Spaniard, who flew back to the UK last night after attending a coaching conference in Abu Dhabi, has been given a six-month contract at Stamford Bridge.

Di Matteo was fired by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and chief executive Ron Gourlay at the club’s training ground at 3am yesterday after they returned from Turin, where their defeat left the club in serious danger of becoming the first holders to go out in the group stage.

The 42-year-old Italian was crushed to be axed only six months after he guided Chelsea, a club he also served with distinction as a player, to Champions League and FA Cup glory as an emergency replacement for the dismissed Andre Villas-Boas.

Game over: Di Matteo has been sacked, six months after landing the Champions League

Game over: Di Matteo has been sacked, six months after landing the Champions League

Taxi! Bookmakers Coral delivered this stunt outside Stamford Bridge after Di Matteo's exit

Taxi! Bookmakers Coral delivered this stunt outside Stamford Bridge after Di Matteo's exit

Chelsea statement on Di Matteo – in full

Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with Manager Roberto Di Matteo.

The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.

The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.

The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.

The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.

He released a statement last night in
which he pointedly thanked everyone except Abramovich and the club’s
senior management. ‘Lifting Chelsea’s first Champions League trophy was
the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of
my career,’ he said. ‘I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea
Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my
players and of course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and
unconditioned support.’

Assistant manager Eddie Newton, an ally of Di Matteo, will be fired and Steve Holland is also expected to be sacked.

Benitez, who guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 and a second European Cup final two years later, agreed to take the job after 72 hours of negotiations.

He has the European experience and pedigree that Abramovich demands, but he has been told his priority is to finish in the top four of the Premier League to guarantee Champions League football.

A Chelsea statement issued last night said: ‘The owner and the board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives. The two-time UEFA manager of the year comes with an outstanding pedigree.’

Down and out Chelsea were soundly beaten by Juventus in the Champions League last night

Down and out Chelsea were soundly beaten by Juventus in the Champions League last night

Down and out Chelsea were soundly beaten by Juventus in the Champions League last night

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Chelsea’s players are usually required to report for a light warm-down the day after a game, but Di Matteo gave them the day off after the Juve defeat. They will report for a 10.30am training session today and skipper John Terry, who is out with a knee injury, will introduce Benitez to the squad.

The 52-year-old has been out of work since he was fired by the then reigning European champions Inter Milan, just six months after replacing Jose Mourinho. Crucially, he has assured Abramovich he can restore 50m misfit Fernando Torres to former glories. Benitez brought Torres to Anfield from Atletico Madrid in 2007 and the Spain striker once claimed he was the ‘most important coach of my career’.

Penny for your thoughts Benitez could help rejuvenate Fernando Torres who has been in poor form

Who's next Guardiola and Benitez are in the frame to take the helm at Stamford Bridge

How Sportsmail's Neil Ashton led the way on Di Matteo's Chelsea sacking

Monday morning… Abramovich prepared to wield axe if results don't improve

Tuesday night… Guardiola and Benitez in frame to replace Di Matteo

In a statement issued shortly after 9am yesterday, it was all Chelsea could do to thank Di Matteo for his contribution, noting that he had only ‘helped’ guide the side to the greatest moment in the club’s history.

‘The team’s recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the board felt a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction,’ said the statement.

‘The owner and the board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.’

Guardiola’s agent was yesterday quoted as saying: ‘He won’t decide which club he will coach until January or February. He alone will decide his future. Right now he is with his family, resting, reading, watching football.’

Hero to zero: Just months after landing the club an FA Cup and Champions League double, Di Matteo is out

Hero to zero: Just months after landing the club an FA Cup and Champions League double, Di Matteo is out

Hero to zero: Just months after landing the club an FA Cup and Champions League double, Di Matteo is out

Di Matteo's 'unacceptable' run of results

October 23: Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Chelsea 1 (Champions League)

October 28: Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3 (Premier League)

October 31: Chelsea 5 Manchester United 4 (Capital One Cup)

November 3: Swansea 1 Chelsea 1 (Premier League)

November 7: Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2 (Champions League)

November 11: Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1 (Premier League)

November 17: West Bromwich 2 Chelsea 1 (Premier League)

November 20: Juventus 3 Chelsea 0 (Champions League)

Eight managers, ten trophies, one billion pounds…

Claudio Ranieri (September 2000 to May 2004 – Abaramovich bought the club in June 2003)

Jose Mourinho (June 2004 – September 2007)

Avram Grant (September 2007 – May 2008)

Felipe Scolari (July 2008 – February 2009)

Guus Hiddink (February 2009 – May 2009)

Carlo Ancelotti (June 2009 – May 2011)

Andre Villas-Boas (June 2011 – March 2012)

Roberto Di Matteo (March 2012 – November 2012)

Rafa Benitez factfile

1960: Born Madrid, April 4.

1981: Leaves Real Madrid after seven years without ever playing for the first team and joins third division Parla.

1983: Part of the Parla side which gains promotion to Segunda B.

1986: After retiring as a player, appointed to Real Madrid's coaching staff, starting off with the juniors and working up to the Under-19s.

1994: Leads Real Madrid's B team to seventh in Spain's Segunda Division and ends the season as assistant to first-team coach Vicente del Bosque.

1995: Appointed coach of Valladolid but sacked after 23 games with the team bottom of the Primera Division.

1996: Takes over at Osasuna in second division, but lasts just nine games after recording one win.

1997: Joins Segunda Division outfit Extremadura and leads them to promotion.

1999: Extremadura relegated from top flight after play-off defeat to Villarreal.

1999-2000: Quits Extremadura to take a year's sabbatical to study coaching in Italy and England.

2000: Appointed boss of Segunda Division Tenerife and leads them to promotion.

2001: Replaces Hector Cuper at Valencia and leads the club to their first Spanish league title in 31 years.

2004: Leads Valencia to their first ever double, lifting the league title and the UEFA Cup.

June 1 – Valencia announce that Benitez and the club have agreed to part by mutual consent.

June 16 – Confirmed as Liverpool manager on five-year contract.

2005: May – Wins Champions League in his first season as Liverpool come from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 before beating AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul.

2007: February – American duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett buy the club from David Moores.
May – Benitez's side reach the Champions League final for the second time in three seasons but lose to AC Milan in Athens.

2008: Relations between Benitez and the Anfield hierarchy sour suddenly with doubts over the Spaniard's long-term future.

2009: March 18 – Benitez signs a new contract after months of uncertainty, keeping him at Anfield until 2014. Liverpool finish second to Manchester United in the Premier League.

2010: April 29 – After previous early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup, Liverpool are knocked out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage by Atletico Madrid.

May 9 – A goalless draw on the final day at relegated Hull confirms Liverpool finish the Barclays Premier League season in seventh – their worst position since 1999.

June 3 – Benitez leaves his job as Liverpool manager by mutual consent.

June 8 – Inter Milan confirm an agreement has been reached for Benitez to become their new head coach.

June 10 – Benitez is confirmed as head coach of Inter on a two-year deal, succeeding Jose Mourinho at the San Siro.

August 21 – Leads Inter to Italian Supercoppa triumph with 3-1 win over Roma at San Siro.

August 27 – Inter beaten 2-0 by Atletico Madrid in European Super Cup final in Monaco.

December 18 – Leads Inter to FIFA Club World Cup glory with 3-0 win over Congolese side Mazembe in Abu Dhabi final. Immediately then calls on club to back him in the transfer market in January or sack him.

December 23 – Inter announce Benitez's dismissal after agreeing the financial terms of his departure.

2012: November 21 – Benitez appointed Chelsea's interim first-team manager until the end of the season, replacing Roberto Di Matteo.

VIDEO: Di Matteo accepts full responsibility for the loss to Juventus after the match

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Frankie Dettori drugs hearing underway, outcome not expected today

Dettori drugs hearing gets underway in France but jockey must wait to discover fate

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UPDATED:

12:29 GMT, 20 November 2012

An outcome to the Frankie Dettori hearing with the French racing authorities appears unlikely to be announced today.

Dettori’s case is being heard by the Medical Committee of France Galop, made up of three doctors, at its Paris HQ and was due to start at 11.30GMT.

Under France Galop procedure, if the Medical Committee finds a jockey guilty of a charge, he must face the Stewards committee which decides on punishment.

Hearing: Frankie Dettori could face a six-month ban after his failed test

Hearing: Frankie Dettori could face a six-month ban after his failed test

The gap between the two committees convening can be a least a week and up to a fortnight.

Dettori’s team had been hoping that the case could be expedited with both hearings being held on the same day.

Dettori, 41, the best known jockey riding in Britain and a public face for racing failed a drugs test, believed to be for cocaine or a metabolite of it, when riding at Longchamp on September 16.

The usual shroud of secrecy hangs over the internal workings of France Galop, who released minimal information when Kieren Fallon twiced tested positive for cocaine, incurring a six-month ban on the first occasion and 18 months the second time.

Trouble: Dettori failed the test while riding in France in September

Trouble: Dettori failed the test while riding in France in September

The Fallon case has led to speculation that Dettori could be facing a similar ban if he is found in breach of regulations.

That would potentially rule him out until May next year. /11/20/article-2235723-15DEDCE0000005DC-383_468x319.jpg” width=”468″ height=”319″ alt=”Benchmark: Kieren Fallon served two bans for failing drug tests” class=”blkBorder” />

Benchmark: Kieren Fallon served two bans for failing drug tests

The official line from Godolphin was that 'the retainer was not really working', although Dettori was expected to continue working his present contract until the end of 2012.

The British-based jockey has won more than 500 group races in his career. He is best known for riding seven winners at Ascot in 1996.

Dettori partnered nine English Classic winners in the royal blue silks, including their first in 1994 Oaks victor Balanchine, and a total of 110 Group or Grade One winners for the owner.

Wales team to play New Zealand: Sam Warburton returns

Warburton back in favour as returning Gatland rings the changes for New Zealand clash

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UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 20 November 2012

Warren Gatland has made five changes to the Wales team for Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash against world champions New Zealand.

Gatland is back in charge after working on preparatory business ahead of leading next summer's British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

In his absence, Wales lost their opening autumn Tests against Argentina and Samoa, dropping to eighth place in the International Rugby Board world rankings as a result.

Starting role: Warburton (centre) had been dropped for the loss to Samoa

Starting role: Warburton (centre) had been dropped for the loss to Samoa

Switches from the 26-19 Samoa loss last Friday night see starts for centre Jonathan Davies, fly-half Rhys Priestland, hooker Matthew Rees, lock Luke Charteris and skipper Sam Warburton.

Davies has recovered from a groin problem to make his first appearance of the autumn series, replacing Ashley Beck, while Priestland takes over from Dan Biggar, who was not considered because of a shoulder injury.

Former Wales captain Rees, meanwhile, returns to the front-row, where he will pack down alongside Paul James and Aaron Jarvis, with Charteris in for Ian Evans, who has taken only a limited part in training due to knee trouble, and skipper Warburton replacing Justin Tipuric.

Wales have not beaten New Zealand since 1953, losing 24 successive games against them, while defeat this weekend would make it six reversals in a row against all opponents, something they have not experienced since 2002-03.

Wales team to play New Zealand on Saturday:

L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert
(Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North
(Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James
(Bath), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues),
L Charteris (Perpignan), R Jones (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues,
capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), G
Jenkins (Toulon), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J
Tipuric (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams
(Scarlets).

Point to prove: Gatland has not taken charge of a match since this year's Grand Slam win

Point to prove: Gatland has not taken charge of a match since this year's Grand Slam win

'No one is more disappointed than the players and the coaches with how things have gone in the last two weeks,' Gatland said.

'But those supporters who have been with us over the last 18 months know, just as we do, that we are a better side than we have displayed so far, and we will be looking to show that on Saturday.

'This New Zealand team is one of the best rugby sides to have ever played the game, and probably the best All Blacks team ever, so it will be a privilege to be able to test ourselves against them.

'Memories of the Rugby World Cup last year and touring New Zealand the previous summer are still fresh in the mind of many of the players and staff.

Daunting task: The All Blacks head to Cardiff on fine form

Daunting task: The All Blacks head to Cardiff on fine form

'The hospitality shown and the way we were looked after made the experience especially memorable, and that makes it all the more special that we have the opportunity to face the best side in the world at the moment in Cardiff.'

Gatland will retake the hot-seat for two Tests – against New Zealand and Australia on December 1 – before handing back control to interim head coach Rob Howley for Wales' RBS 6 Nations title defence, which starts against Ireland on February 2.