Jose's EPL wish
LONDON - Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho admits he remains keen to return to the English Premier League — as long as clubs interested in hiring him roll out the red carpet. Mourinho has signed a new contract keeping him at Real until 2016 after masterminding the club's Spanish title triumph last season. But the self-styled "Special One", who remains a cult hero in England after his three-year reign at Chelsea, never misses a chance to remind the football world of his worth.
BARCELONA, Spain - Deportivo Coruna beat Osasuna 2-0 yesterday in their return to Spanish soccer's top flight thanks to second-half goals by forwards Ivan "Riki" Sanchez and Nelson Oliviera. Riki made up for a missed penalty kick by scoring in the 53rd minute, and Oliveira — a young Portuguese prospect — sealed the win at Riazor stadium in injury time with a superb individual effort. Also, Roberto Trashorras scored from a free kick deep into stoppage time to give Rayo Vallecano coach Paco Jemez a 1-0 win over Granada in his debut.
Song signs deal
BARCELONA, Spain - Cameroon midfielder Alex Song has signed a five-year contract with Barcelona, bringing an end to his time with English Premier League club Arsenal. Song posed for the traditional photo in front of the club's insignia yesterday morning before passing a medical examination and meeting with Barcelona President Sandro Rosell. The Spanish club paid Arsenal 19 million euros ($F42.46million) for Song.
AUCKLAND - Prop Tony Woodcock has been ruled out of the All Blacks' return match against the Wallabies in the second round of the Rugby Championship. The 87-Test specialist loosehead picked up a rib injury in New Zealand's 27-19 win over Australia last weekend in Sydney. The decision to rule him out of Saturday's Test at Eden Park was made at training in Auckland on yesterday. His replacement in the starting 15 is likely to be Wyatt Crockett. Australia have also lost a key player in skipper David Pocock, who suffered cartilage damage to his right knee.
WELLINGTON - Warriors coach Brian McClennan has been dropped two games before the end of the NRL season. He will be replaced by assistant coach Tony Iro. McClennan, who has been in the job for just a year, was contracted until the end of the 2013 season, but Warriors' chief executive Wayne Scurrah yesterday said both parties had agreed on an early release "in the best interests of the club". Iro will become interim coach to prepare the Warriors for their final regular-season matches against St George Illawarra on Saturday night and then Canberra.
Trio pull out
WHITE PLAINS - Two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and top-20 tennis players Kaia Kanepi and Flavia Pennetta have pulled out of the US Open starting next week. The US Tennis Association did not give reasons for the three withdrawals. Kuznetsova won the 2004 title at Flushing Meadows, and added the 2009 French Open championship. She's been ranked as high as No.2 but is only 48th this week. The 15th-ranked Kanepi withdrew from Wimbledon and the London Olympics because of a heel injury.