UEFA boss Michel Platini has made the surprising proposal that Euro 2020 be hosted in 12 or 13 cities across Europe.
During the last two decades, the UEFA European Football Championship has had a number of tandem hosts: current Euro 2012′s Poland and Ukraine, as well as Euro 2008′s Austria and Switzerland, and Euro 2000′s Belgium and Netherlands.
At present countries who have expressed interest in hosting Euro 2020 are Turkey, as well as tandem Azerbaijan-Georgia, and trio Ireland-Scotland-Wales.
Platini’s Saturday proposal is the first time a high-ranking official suggests that the prestigious tournament could be organized on a basis that is not country-centered.
“This is only an idea, but in December or January we have to make our final decision. The idea seems very appealing to me, especially given we will have the 60th anniversary of the tournament,” said the UEFA president.
“We could organize the tournament in 12 or 13 cities spread out all over Europe,” said Platini, adding he has officially addressed the proposal to UEFA’s executive board.
The next European Football Championship, in 2016, will be hosted by France.
World champions Spain took their place among the game’s greats when they thrashed Italy 4-0 to become the first team to win successive European Championship titles on Sunday.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata gave the world champions an easy victory over an Italian team down to 10 men through injury for the last half-hour.
Italy’s Mario Balotelli dedicated his match-winning performance in Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany to his adoptive mother.
At the final whistle, the Italy striker embraced Silvia Balotelli, who brought him up from the age of two after he was born in Italy to Ghanaian immigrants.
“After the game, when I went to my mum I said ‘these goals are for you‘,” he said. “I waited for this moment for so long and I wanted to make my mum happy.Tonight was the most beautiful of my life – but I hope that this Sunday is even better.”
Bayern Munich striker Nils Petersen will join Werder Bremen on a one-year loan deal that will run until 30th June 2013.
Bremen executive director Klaus Allofs confirmed the deal on Friday: “We’ve waited a long time to complete this transfer and are pleased that the deal is now signed and sealed.”
Petersen won the Golden Boot in Germany’s second division during the 2010/2011 season, having found the net 25 times. His form in front of goal soon earned the former U-21 player a move to the Bavarian giants.
Brazilian defender Lucio has left Inter Milan by mutual consent with two years left on his contract, the Serie A club said on Friday.
The Brazilian defender, whose contract ran until 30 June 2014, played 136 competitive matches in blue and black, scoring 5 goals.
With the club he won one Scudetto, the Coppa Italia twice, 1 Italian Super Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League medal and 1 Club World Cup.
Manchester United will play Barcelona in a pre-season friendly to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden on August 8, the Red Devils confirmed on Thursday.
The friendly will be a replay of the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals between the two teams.
The finals in Rome and London bring back good memories for the Catalans seeing that these were the venues that saw Barça claim the third and fourth Champions League titles in the history of the Club.
Mario Balotelli scored twice to seal Italy’s 2-1 semi-final win over Germany on Thursday to leave the Euro 2012 favorites ambitions in tatters while the Azzurri march on to the final.
Manchester City’s youngster broke German hearts with a first-half header and sublime strike as Joachim Loew’s inexperienced team, the youngest of the 16 at Euro 2012, failed to cope with Cesare Prandelli’s street-wise Italians.
A late penalty from Mesut Ozil proved no more than a consolation score for the Germans whose 16-year wait for a major title continues.
Italy are now into Sunday’s final in Kiev to face defending champions Spain with the Italians bidding to win their first European crown since 1968.
Germany 1-2 Italy Highlights
Cesare Prandelli hailed Mario Balotelli’s performance as “excellent” and “unique” after his two goals put Italy in the Euro 2012 final with a 2-1 win over Germany.
The 21-year-old Manchester City man showcased his great talent with two brute-force strikes in the first half to send his team through.
“Ballotelli was excellent, just like the whole team,” Prandelli said. “I believe that a team should have an idea and Balotelli really corresponded to this idea. He had a great performance.”
“Balotelli was in the game, he did exactly what I asked him to do,” the coach added. “When it comes to Balotelli, I think he is unique. He is strong physically, he can work for the team, but he is also on time, when he is required in the penalty area.”
Barcelona have signed Valencia left-back Jordi Alba for €14 million on a five-year contract, the club revealed on Thursday.
The 23 year old, who is with his national team at Euro 2012 in Ukraine, is expected to arrive in Barcelona after the tournament final.
“FC Barcelona can announce that it has reached an agreement today with Valencia CF for the transfer of player Jordi Alba, pending the player’s medical examination when he comes to the city of Barcelona next week,” the club said in a website statement.
Bayern Munich have confirmed that striker Mario Mandzukic will be moving to Bavaria on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
The Bavarians have lost Ivica Olic this summer, and although they have re-signed Claudio Pizarro, they were also linked with a move for Manchester City`s Edin Dzeko.
“We’re delighted to sign a top Bundesliga centre-forward in Mario Mandzukic, who has already demonstrated his incredible goalscoring qualities during EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. He will strengthen our squad even further,” said sporting director Christian Nerlinger of FC Bayern’s sixth summer signing ahead of the upcoming 2012/13 season.
Mandzukic, dubbed ‘Super Mario’, scored three goals for Croatia at Euro 2012 in Poland. However, he could not save his side from being eliminated in the group stage.
Athletic Bilbao have reached an agreement to sign their former player Aritz Aduriz from Valencia.
The 31-year-old Aduriz came up through the youth ranks at Athletic and spent two spells in the first team either side of time at Burgos and Real Valladolid.
In 2008 Aduriz left to join Real Mallorca before moving to Valencia with whom he earned his first Spain cap.
The world’s highest paid football player, Samuel Eto’o, may be facing up to five years in a Spanish prison over tax fraud allegations.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, Eto’o allegedly concealed over €3.5 million from the country’s treasury, while he was playing for FC Barcelona between 2006 and 2009.
The Cameroonian received the money from the Catalan club and major German sportswear manufacturer, Puma, but reportedly declared different sources of income – from firms in Spain and Hungary – in order to reduce tax payments.
If the 31-year-old is found guilty he’s at risk of spending from one to five years in prison and paying a fine more than six times higher than the sum he allegedly tried to hide.
Eto’o joined Anzhi Makhachkala from Inter Milan last summer, becoming the highest paid footballer on the planet.
The striker is being paid over €20 million annually by the side from Russia’s republic of Dagestan in a three year deal.
Borussia Mönchengladbach have moved to replace Bayern Munich-bound defender Dante with Europa League winner Alvaro Dominguez from Atheltico Madrid.
The 23-year-old passed a medical on Wednesday morning in Mönchengladbach before signing a five year deal with the Foals.
Alvaro Dominguez was our first choice for the left centre-back position which we were looking to fill after Dante’s departure,” said Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl.
“He was a first-team regular at Athletico Madrid, won the Europa League in 2010 and 2012 and recently made the step up into the Spanish national team. We are proud that he has decided to join Borussia.”
Rafa Benitez is in talks with Serie A side Sampdoria to become their new manager, club owner Riccardo Garrone revealed.
Samploria are looking to replace coach Giuseppe Iachini this summer and the former Inter tactician is the number one candidate to take his place.
“There have been contacts with Benitez. But it’s a work in progress,” Garrone said.
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell yesterday confirmed that the Catalans are in negotiations to sign Spain left-back Jordi Alba from Valencia, but dismissed that Didier Drogba is on his way to the Camp Nou.
“I don’t like these negotiations being made public, but they have been,” Rosell said.
Rosell added that no price had yet been agreed for the 23-year-old Alba, who is currently with the Spain squad at Euro 2012.
“How much we pay for Alba will depend on the negotiations. Everything is worth what you are willing to pay or how much you are willing to sell for.”
Rosell’s comments come a day after Valencia’s director of communications, Damia Vidagany, claimed that his club had asked Barcelona for a transfer fee of €15 million.
Milan have announced that Mathieu Flamini has signed a new one-year deal.
The Frenchman was set to be out of contract at the end of this month and an exit was expected for the midfielder.
However, the 28-year-old has now inked a one-year extension.
“Mathieu Flamini, who has been with the Rossoneri since 2008, will remain a Milan player next season. He has accumulated 100 appearances, and has won one league title and one Italian Super Cup,” a statement on the Milan official website.
Flamini joined Milan from Arsenal in the summer of 2008. He previously played for Olympique de Marseille.
Edinson Cavani wants to remain at Napoli despite continued speculation linking him with a move to Juventus this summer.
The Uruguay international has attracted the attention of top clubs including Manchester City after another excellent campaign with Napoli. Reports in Italy claim Juventus have made a tempting offer to Napoli to buy the 25-year-old forward.
“I know nothing about Juventus,” Cavani said.
“I want to stay at Napoli.”
Napoli slapped a 100-million-euro price tag on Cavani last year and the South American is under contract with the club until June 2015.
Real Madrid playmaker Kaka’s father is reportedly negotiating his son’s return to AC Milan with the Italian football club.
Bosco Leite had flown to Milan for talks with Rossoneri vice-president Adriano Galliani about signing the 30-year-old.
According to Brazil O Globo newspaper, Kaka’s family has maintained close ties with the Serie A outfit since the star’s departure in 2009.
The report added that Real Madrid’s hierarchy had given its consent for negotiations.