Football Update


Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen (L) concedes a penalty with a challenge on Burnley's Andre Bikey during their English Premier League soccer match in Burnley, northern England

Messi eyes World Cup
Soccer players must win the World Cup before they can be considered one of the sport's greats, in-form Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

'To become a legend, to be great, you also have to win a World Cup,' Argentina international Messi said in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo.

'I have only just turned 22,' he added. 'It's all happening very quickly and you have to stay calm.' Messi has turned in a series of brilliant performances in recent weeks, scoring 11 goals in five matches, including two La Liga hat-tricks, and earning comparisons with football legends like Diego Maradona and Pele.

'I never intend to disrespect anyone,' Messi continued. 'I just play football. In my own way.'

I will be Chelsea coach next season, says Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has said even if he fails to win a title with the club this year, he will still be Chelsea's manager next season.

Chelsea is still in contention for the Premier League and FA Cup but has been eliminated from the Champions League and has slipped to third in the English standings after taking just four points from three games.

After last week's Champion League 1-0 loss to Inter Milan, the manager had acknowledged that he was under pressure, but he told Italian newspaper La Stampa that the Blues will do well in the remainder of the season.

Even so, Ancelotti is confident that his 'future will definitely be at Chelsea next year independent of results.'

Arsenal's Vermaelen fails in red card appeal
The Football Association has dismissed Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen's appeal against the red card he received in Saturday's Premier League win over West Ham.

As a result, Vermaelen will now miss Saturday's match at Birmingham.

The Belgium international was sent off in the 44th minute for a foul on Guillermo Franco that referee Martin Atkinson ruled, denying the striker a scoring opportunity.

Arsenal is second in the standings, two points behind defending champions Manchester United.

Spurs agree to sign Brazilian midfielder
Tottenham will sign 21-year-old Sandro from Brazilian club Internacional later this year if the midfielder passes a medical examination.

The Premier League club has agreed to a transfer fee for the player and said yesterday that he will join once Internacional completes its involvement in South America's Copa Libertadores.

The two-legged final is scheduled for August 11 and 18.

Sandro made his Brazil debut as a second-half substitute in September's 4-2 World Cup qualifying win over Chile.

Neither team has confirmed the transfer fee but British newspapers have reported it to be about 9 million pounds ($13.5 million).

Tottenham moved for Sandro under the terms of a partnership agreement it signed with Internacional in August.