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BERIEFLY

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

+++Target

DUSSELDORF - Germany has set a target of 30 medals in the forthcoming Olympic Games in Sochi. "The preparation shows good and bad. But overall we are on the right path," said Michael Vesper, general director of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) on Tuesday.

Hard work

MADRID - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo's work ethic after the Portuguese collected the second Ballon d'Or of his career. Ronaldo beat off stiff competition from four-time winner Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to claim football's highest individual accolade in Zurich on Monday.

Sponsorship

ZURICH - FIFA says Visa has extended its World Cup sponsorship deal through the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The value of the deal was not disclosed. FIFA President Sepp Blatter says "we are delighted to have such a strong global brand by our side until at least 2022".

Nasri injury

PARIS - Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa says there was no intention to harm Samir Nasri when he hacked down the Manchester City midfielder in the English Premier League on Monday. Nasri will be out for eight weeks after partially rupturing ligaments in his knee in the second half of City's 2-0 win.

Holt loaned

LONDON - Wigan Athletic striker Grant Holt has been loaned to Aston Villa until the end of the season, the Premier League club has announced. Holt, 32, joined second-tier Wigan from Norwich City for a reported fee of STG2 million ($A3.6 million) in July, but has scored only two goals in his 21 appearances to date.

New coach

RIO DE JANEIRO - Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf has confirmed he is taking over as coach of AC Milan, replacing Massimiliano Allegri. The seven-time European champions sacked Allegri after a shock weekend loss to Sassuolo and have turned to Seedorf, twice a Champions League winner with the club as a player.

Transfer

LONDON - Stoke City has announced that Stephen Ireland's loan move from Premier League rivals Aston Villa has been turned into a permanent transfer. The 27-year-old Irish midfielder joined Stoke last September in a move that saw him reunited with Mark Hughes, his former manager at Manchester City.

Rally hope

IQUIQUE, Chile - French rally great Stephane Peterhansel boosted his hopes of a hat-trick of Dakar Rally wins as he won Tuesday's ninth stage of the race in South America. Peterhansel guided his Mini home fastest on the 459km leg - 422km timed - from Calama to Iquique in Chile.

Barkley out

LIVERPOOL, England - Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has fractured a toe on his left foot and could be sidelined for up to six weeks. The 20-year-old Barkley, whose impressive form this season could earn him a place in England's World Cup squad, was hurt in Everton's 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup on January 4.








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