MORE SPORTS IN BRIEF
Sick Messi misses practice
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Barcelona said Lionel Messi is sick and missed team practice yesterday. The Spanish club said Messi has a stomach ailment.
Barcelona lost at Real Sociedad in the league on Sunday. Messi only played the second half of the match. Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said he rested Messi in the first half of the 1-0 loss as a precaution because the Argentina forward had just returned from vacation. Barcelona also said Rafina missed training because of an ear infection.
Foo returns, Shiv in for Jaguars
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):
All-rounder Jonathan Foo has made a return to the Guyana squad for the upcoming NAGICO Super50, which bowls off in Trinidad and Tobago next week. The 24-year-old has not played for regional cricket in two years, but has been impressing in the domestic league and handed a recall.
Foo is best remembered for his exploits in the 2010 Caribbean Twenty20 when he single-handedly steered Guyana to a dramatic win in the final over Barbados. He will be joined in the 14-man squad by veteran West Indies left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul, who is currently on the Test tour of South Africa, but will return home shortly.
The Jaguars, however, will be without Leon Johnson and Narsingh Deonarine both of whom will be on West Indies duty for the one-day series against South Africa. Assad Fudadin, who returned home from the Windies tour after undergoing surgery on a fractured finger, is also unavailable due to fitness problems.
Guyana will do battle in Group A of the January 15-24 tournament alongside title-holders Barbados Pride, Combined Campuses and Colleges and Windward Islands Volcanoes.
SQUAD: Vishaul Singh (captain), Trevon Griffith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Rajendra Chandrika, Christopher Barnwell, Jonathan Foo, Steven Jacobs, Royston Crandon, Raymond Reifer, Anthony Bramble, Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul, Paul Wintz, Ronsford Beaton.
Cilic in doubt for Australian Open
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP):
US Open champion Marin Cilic says his participation in the Australian Open is in doubt because of a right shoulder injury. The ninth-ranked Croatian said yesterday: "Considering the full recovery and opportunity for practice, it is highly questionable if I will be able to play."
Cilic says he still did not withdraw officially from the Grand Slam tournament that starts January 19 in Melbourne "since there is still a week or so left to see how things will develop".
Cilic, who has had the injury for the past six months, defeated Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori to win his first Grand Slam title in New York in September. He withdrew from several tournaments since, including this week's Brisbane International.
Italy chief plans to cut size of Serie A
Italian Football Federation president, Carlo Tavecchio, hopes a plan to reduce Serie A from 20 to 18 clubs is approved this year.
"If it's not done in 2015, then we'll have to make other evaluations," Tavecchio told RAI state radio.
Tavecchio also wants to cut Serie B from 22 to 20 clubs.
Dragged down by old stadiums, dwindling attendance, fan violence and racism, Serie A is struggling to keep up with leagues in England, Spain and Germany.
Italy is fourth in UEFA's country coefficient rankings, which determine how many clubs each league gets in the lucrative Champions League.
He said: "The Italian sports system is imploding. The resources are diminishing. ... (The reductions) can return Italian football to a better level."
Tavecchio did not say when the cuts might be made.
Man United to face Cambridge
Manchester United will play fourth-tier Cambridge United in the fourth round of the FA Cup after being drawn against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition yesterday. It's another friendly draw for Louis van Gaal's team, which beat Yeovil on Sunday to advance.
Most top Premier League teams were drawn against lower-tier opposition, with Manchester City hosting Middlesbrough and defending champions Arsenal travelling to Brighton. Chelsea will play the winner between Millwall and Bradford, who face a replay. Liverpool face Bolton after beating Wimbledon 2-1 yesterday. The fourth round will be played over the weekend of January 24-25.
Germany's Podolski completes loan move to Inter from Arsenal
Germany international Lukas Podolski joined Inter Milan on a loan deal from Arsenal yesterday, giving new Nerazzurri coach Roberto Mancini a boost in attack. While Podolski has been in Milan since last week, Inter announced that all the paperwork had been completed for the striker to stay with the club through June. Podolski could play for Inter against Serie A leader Juventus today.
"I'm (grateful) for the confidence the club has in me - and will try to pay it back with strong performances," Podolski said on Instagram. "I want to give a special thanks to coach Roberto Mancini who made a big effort for me to come to Inter, he made it an easy decision for me. ... I hope to rank among club legends like Ronaldo, (Javier) Zanetti, (Jurgen) Klinsmann, (Andreas) Brehme, (Lothar) Matthaus and many others one day."
Podolski scored 31 goals in 82 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal since arriving from Cologne before the 2012-13 season.
"He has a solid resume and a lot of experience," Mancini said. "He's not a player at the end of his career and I hope he can give us a big hand."