City demand fan gives title-winning ball back
Manchester City turned to the police to force a teenage fan to return the match ball used in their dramatic Premier League title-clinching victory over QPR. City ended their 44-year wait to win the English league crown in remarkable fashion last weekend as stoppage-time goals from Edin Dzeko and then Sergio Aguero sealed a 3-2 triumph on the final day of the season. Hundreds of City supporters spilled onto the Eastlands pitch to celebrate a result which saw their team finish above bitter rivals Manchester United on goal difference. In the chaos that ensued one young fan made off with the ball, but his hopes of holding onto the prized souvenir came to an end as City officials wanted it back. They viewed CCTV footage which identified a 17-year-old youth picking up the ball and it was then decided the matter should be brought to the attention of Greater Manchester Police who arrested him on suspicion of theft. Shortly after his arrest he was ‘de-arrested’ when City opted not to press charges and instead arranged a meeting with him to ask for their ball back. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘On Thursday, police were contacted by staff at Manchester City FC who said they wanted to report the theft of a match football. ‘Acting on information provided, the following day officers arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of theft but de-arrested him shortly after. ‘It was decided the most appropriate cause of action was to use Restorative Justice, so the boy was taken to the Etihad Stadium where he met with security staff and resolved the matter.’
— AFP, London
Drogba denies Barcelona move
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba denied reports linking him with Barcelona on Friday as he prepared for the Champions League final showdown with Bayern Munich. The 34-year-old Ivory Coast forward could make his final appearance for Chelsea on Saturday after failing to agree an extension to his current contract which expires this summer.The possibility of Drogba being available as a free agent is likely to arouse interest across Europe, but the former African Player of the Year denied reports suggesting Barcelona were poised to secure his services.‘I want to make it clear there’s a lot of rumours about me being offered to Barcelona. It’s not true,’ Drogba said. ‘The excitement of a big Champions League final game is more important than Barcelona approaching me now.’Drogba did leave the door ajar though for the possibility of extending his eight-year stay at Stamford Bridge, saying he was willing to ‘sit down and talk’ with club chief executive Ron Gourlay.
— AFP, Munich
Rafael replaces Alves in Brazil squad
Manchester United right-back Rafael was called up by Brazil on Friday to take the place of injured Barcelona defender Daniel Alves. Rafael was included in coach Mano Menezes’ squad for four friendlies taking place this month and next, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said. His inclusion brings to 18 the number of players in the 23-man squad within the under-23 age limit for the London Olympic Games, where Brazil will attempt to win the soccer gold medal for the first time. Daniel Alves fractured his right collar bone during training with Barcelona on Wednesday and will be out of action for eight weeks.
— Reuters, Rio De Janeiro
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