Argentina’s World Cup preparations suffered a blow on Tuesday as goalkeeper Sergio Romero was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury, the Argentina Football Association (AFA) said.
The Manchester United goalkeeper injured his right knee during training in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.
Romero, 31, is the most capped goalkeeper in the history of the Argentina national team with 83 appearances and represented the country at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. The AFA said Romero had suffered a blockage in his right knee and was being evaluated surgically. A replacement will be announced “in the coming days,” the statement said.
As well as his World Cup experience, Romero has represented Argentina in three Copa Americas and was also a member of the side that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Argentina, beaten finalists in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, open their Group D campaign in Russia against Iceland on June 16. Other first round opponents include Croatia and Nigeria.
Koscielny sends World Cup best to France
Ruled out of the World Cup with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has written a letter of encouragement to the France squad, national coach Didier Deschamps said.
The 32-year-old, who has 50 France caps, was stretchered out of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid two weeks ago. “He’s a man on whom you can count and I told him that if he wants to he’s more than welcome to pay us a visit,” said Deschamps.
“It was a good idea and I’ve shown the letter to the players. There’s everything in there from a man who knows what an international tournament calls for,” said Deschamps. The French Football Federation have made what Koscielny said in the letter public.
“The main thing is to get along with each other, all together, players and staff,” he wrote. “Everyone has to fight and go the extra yard for his teammates, team spirit is key. The whole nation is behind you and will cheer you on. This support, energy, pride and passion will carry you just as it did in Euro 2016,” said Koscielny, who was part of the France side that lost the final to Portugal. “This year, I’ll be on my sofa, watching on the TV and I’ll be your No.1 fan,” promised the player.
The news cast an even poorer light on the 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who refused to be a World Cup standby player as the France squad assembled at their Clairefontaine training centre.
Bologna sign Dutch defender Dijks
Dutch left-back Mitchell Dijks has signed a five-year contract with Serie A club Bologna from Ajax, the Italian club confirmed, The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with Norwich City, before returning to the Netherlands this season. Bologna struggled during the season — with just one win from their final 12 games — finishing four points above the relegation zone.
Manchester United named most valuable football team
Manchester United may have finished second in the English Premier League this season but the club is top of the table in terms of overall value, according to a report by accounting firm KPMG.
The Red Devils’ overall value increased five percent compared to 2017 to more than 3.2 billion euros, beating Real Madrid on 2.9 billion euros and FC Barcelona on 2.8 billion euros.
Of the 32 European clubs assessed, Bayern Munich came fourth with 2.55 billion euros, Juventus were ninth on 1.3 billion euros, with Paris Saint-Germain in 11th place, with an estimated value of 1.14 billion euros.
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