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Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter cup

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in June-July and would best be held in the winter time, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday. The scheduling of the tournament has been hotly debated ever since it was controversially awarded to Qatar in December 2010, especially over fears that the summer heat in the Gulf emirate would be dangerous for players and fans alike.

Cronk out

Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk might miss the start of the NRL season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Dally M Medallist was set to return to Storm training next week, along with Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, who were also part of Australia's World Cup triumph late last year. Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Cronk would miss their NRL trials and was in doubt for round one.

Captain quit

Wallabies captain Ben Mowen is to quit Australian rugby at the end of the 2014 season. Mowen, 29, has decided to move to Europe, ruling him out of the 2015 World Cup. The move will come as a massive blow for the Australian Rugby Union and Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie who installed Mowen as national skipper in his debut season for the Wallabies last year, replacing incumbent James Horwill.

Real deal

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has ended speculation over his future by signing a two-year extension, he confirmed on Wednesday. "This will continue to be my home for two more years. I am very happy to tell you. Come on Madrid!" he posted on his official Twitter account. The 32-year-old had been free to talk to other clubs since January 1 as his previous deal was set to come to end in June.

First Japanese

Italian giants AC Milan have unveiled their first Japanese player, international midfielder Keisuke Honda. The 27-year-old joined Milan on a three-year deal on a free transfer from CSKA Moscow following a three-year spell with the Russian Premier League club. Milan, for the second successive season, have struggled to keep pace with the Serie A pacesetters and currently sit in 11th, 27 points behind leaders Juventus and 17 from the first Champions League qualifying spot.

Bale to start

Gareth Bale will make his return to Real Madrid's starting line-up for their Copa del Rey last 16, first-leg clash with Osasuna on Thursday, coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed.

The Welsh superstar hasn't started Madrid's past three matches due to a calf injury, but did make his return as a substitute for the final 25 minutes of Monday's 3-0 win over Celta Vigo.

'Happy birthday'

Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman sang "Happy Birthday" to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang on Wednesday before joining a game with fellow players to mark the event, a report said. Rodman has been criticised for failing to address human rights issues or the plight of a jailed American during several visits to the North and to the leader whom he calls his friend for life.

Moyes comments

David Moyes's problems increased on Wednesday when the Football Association said they were looking into the Manchester United manager's latest attack on referees. Moyes said United were playing officials as well as the opposition after Sunderland's 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light in the first leg of a League Cup semi-final on Tuesday condemned his side to three consecutive defeats for the first time in 13 years.

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