Real tweets hurt Sergi's Barca chance
BARCELONA • Diehard Real Madrid fan Sergi Guardiola's decision to write offensive tweets aimed at Barcelona came back to haunt him on Monday when he was hired and fired by the Spanish giants on the same day.
The 24-year-old striker penned a deal with Barca's B team but was sacked just hours later when angry fans of the Catalan football club made officials aware of his Twitter tirade from 2013, www.lequipe.fr reported. His tweets had included "Allez Madrid" and "F*** Catalans".
Benitez sees vested interests at work
MADRID • Under-pressure Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez believes, ahead of the La Liga game against Real Sociedad today, that there is a campaign against him and the club and that the team are not playing as badly as is being made out.
Speculation has been rife over the future of Benitez who has failed to win over many fans with his team's results and style of play. Real are two points off joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with 33 points from 16 games.
Pakistan court clears Amir's return path
LAHORE • A Pakistani court yesterday rejected a petition against the inclusion of convicted spot-fixer Mohammad Amir in the national cricket team, clearing the last hurdle to his comeback after a five-year ban.
Amir, 23, was one of three Pakistan cricketers banned for arranging deliberate no-balls as part of a betting scam during a Test in England in 2010. The two other were the then-Test captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Asif. All three were sentenced to six months' jail in Britain.
Srnicek dies after heart attack at 47
LONDON • Former Czech international goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek, 47, died yesterday following a heart attack he had suffered while out jogging last week.
He collapsed on Dec 21 in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava and was found after 20 minutes. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.
Srnicek, until his demise the goalkeeping coach at Czech side Sparta Prague, played 49 times for his country. He moved to Newcastle in 1991 and also played for West Ham, Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday in England.