Casillas Joins Spanish FA Presidential Race


Spain’s World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas will run for the presidency of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), he confirmed on Monday.

The date of the election has not yet been decided but Casillas said he has informed his current club, Porto of his decision, with the 38-year-old now expected to retire from playing the game.

“Yes, I will run for the presidency of the RFEF when the elections are called,” Casillas wrote in a statement.

“Together we will put our federation at the top of the best football in the world, the football of Spain.

“I have informed the president of my club, FC Porto, to whom I can only express the deepest gratitude.”

Casillas is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation and led Spain to their first World Cup triumph in South Africa in 2010.

He played 167 times for Spain, also winning two Euros in 2008 and 2012, and made more than 700 appearances for Real Madrid, with whom he won five La Liga titles and the Champions League three times, before joining Porto in 2015.

Casillas was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI five years in a row between 2008 and 2012.

But last April, he suffered a heart attack during training and has not played another competitive match since.

Casillas had been linked with the RFEF presidency for several months and is now expected to go up against current incumbent Luis Rubiales for the post.

“We are working with the utmost respect and determination in our candidacy,” added Casillas. “More than 23,000 voters are waiting for us in fair and transparent elections. The 139 assembly members will decide.”

Rubiales has been in perpetual conflict with Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, and the pair have clashed over numerous issues, including fixtures on Monday and Friday nights, matches abroad and the postponement of the Clasico in October.

According to the rules, the elections should be held in the second half of this year after the Tokyo Olympics but Rubiales has requested they be brought forward, before Euro 2020, which will run from 12 June to 12 July.


155 Migrants Force Entry Into Spain’s Ceuta Enclave

Migrants are arrested after they force their way into the Spanish territory of Ceuta on August 30, 2019. Over 150 migrants made their way into Ceuta after storming a barbed-wire border fence with Morocco Antonio SEMPERE / AFP


A group of 155 migrants forced their way into Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Friday, Spanish authorities said.

“They are all from sub-Saharan Africa, the majority from Guinea,” a spokesman for the central government’s office in Ceuta told AFP.

They broke through the barbed wire fence bordering Morocco early Friday morning, taking advantage of misty conditions, slightly hurting 12 police officers who tried to stop them, he said.

Several migrants were treated for cuts.

Spanish media said some of them jumped over while the majority broke through a door in the fence.

This is the first time in a year that migrants have managed to storm the barbed wire fence that separates Ceuta from Morocco as a group, the spokesman said.

Spain’s two North African enclaves, Melilla and Ceuta, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

Since the start of the year, 3,427 migrants have entered these two cities, 18.1 per cent less than in 2018, according to the latest interior ministry figures.

Of these, 671 arrived in Ceuta.

Once on Spanish territory, they are usually taken to a migrant reception centre where they can ask for asylum.

Venezuela Declares Spanish Ambassador ‘Persona Non Grata’

(File copy) Venezuela Nicolas President, Maduro                                            Photo Credit: AFP

Venezuela on Thursday declared Spain’s ambassador to Caracas “persona non grata,” accusing Madrid of committing “continuous aggressions” against the Socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The declaration came a day after Venezuela recalled its own ambassador to Spain following the European Union’s adoption of sanctions against seven senior Venezuelan officials, including a freeze on their assets and a ban on traveling to the EU.

Venezuela “has decided to declare persona non grata the ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to Venezuela… owing to its continuous aggressions and repeated acts of interference in the internal affairs of our country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Caracas accuses Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of being one of the masterminds behind the sanctions, saying he was acting on instructions from the United States. Among the targeted officials was Diosdado Cabello, one of the most powerful figures in the Venezuela leadership.

Diplomats like Spanish ambassador Jesus Silva who are censured by being declared persona non grata are normally required to leave the country where they have been serving.

Spain and Venezuela have suffered from tense diplomatic ties since the late Socialist leader Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. He was succeeded on his death in 2013 by Maduro.


Dismissed Catalan VP Demands Release From Jail

FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a placard bearing a crossed-out portrait of Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, who was officially ousted by Madrid, reading “Dictators out” as others wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flags during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona on October 29, 2017. LLUIS GENE / AFP

The dismissed vice president of Catalonia on Tuesday asked that he be released from jail, having accepted he no longer holds authority in the Spanish region whose leaders want independence.

Oriol Junqueras has been in custody since November 2 while a judge investigates him and other former regional ministers, including the deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.

In a note presented by lawyers to the Supreme Court, Junqueras and three other axed ministers in the formerly semi-autonomous region admitted that they have been dismissed.

They “accept the application of Article 155”, the constitutional provision which allowed the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to suspend Catalonia’s regional authority on October 27.

That step followed Puigdemont’s declaration of independence, after a referendum on secession that took place on October 1, despite a court ban. Puigdemont is in self-imposed exile in Belgium.

According to the court note, Junqueras and his fellow detainees accept Madrid’s authority over Catalonia despite having “the deepest political and legal disagreement”.

“They do not give up their political beliefs in strictly peaceful and democratic ways and will work to reach an agreement that puts the decision on the future of Catalonia in the hands of citizens,” it added.

Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament and has announced elections to be held there on December 21 in a bid to “restore normality” to the regio

Euro 2016: Iniesta Admits Facing Italy Will Be Tough

Andres Iniesta, Spain, Italy, Euro 2016Barcelona Captain, Andres Iniesta, says Spain will be contending with a tough Italy team in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 ongoing in France.

The Spanish midfielder acknowledged that the Italians are high-calibre opponent, but expressed hope that the clash would make his side a better team.

“They’re a powerful rival, a difficult rival, and a good game. It’s a game that will be useful to us if we are to keep developing and taking steps in these Euros,” he told Goal.

He added that the Azzurri are excellent players and have a great defensive block that has been well known for a long time.

“Contrary to what I hear people saying, they also improved a great deal in terms of possession and ball-handling.

“They really stepped up, which makes the game on Monday even more complex and our aspirations even more difficult,” Iniesta admitted.

Spain finished second in the Group D after a shock 2 – 1 loss to Croatia in their last game while Italy finished first despite 1 – 0 loss to the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

Aruna Quadri To End 2015 As World Number 50

quadriNigeria’s Aruna Quadri will end 2015 as the world number 50 tennis player.

This is according to the latest ranking released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

In 2015, Quadri featured in more than five ITTF World Circuits, with his best being the Lagos Open, where he played in the final against Assar.

In Europe, he took part in the German, Spanish, Polish, Croatian and Swedish Opens.

Quadri was also in the Kuwait and Qatar Opens where he managed to make it to the last 32 in some of the tournaments.

His best outing in Europe was at the Croatian Open where he made it to the last 16.

Russian FA shortlists Capello,Guardiola and Redknapp

Former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola and England’s former coach, Fabio Capello are amongst the high profiled candidates running eagerly for the position of Russia coach.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) revealed on Tuesday that the union is planning to discuss further with the contenders so as to determine who takes up the job as head coach of the National team.

Other top contenders for the position are Harry Redknapp who is the former boss of Tottenham Hotspur, former Liverpool boss, Rafael Benitez, Marcelo Bielsa and Marcelo Lippi.

Local media and football pundits tipped Capello and Guardiola who are the early front-runners as possible two contenders after the filtering must have been completed but also ruled the chances any Russian taking up the position as Valery Gazzayev, Anatoly Byshovets and Yuri Semin, who coached the national team in the past but were sacked or quit following a string of poor results were amongst the list as Russians.

Much against the will of the Russian Football Union the list of the candidates were released claiming it was due to intense media speculation about the job, which became vacant following Dutchman Dick Advocaat’s departure after Russia’s failure to get past the group phase at Euro 2012.

One name conspicuous by its absence was Manchester City’s Italian manager Roberto Mancini who agreed a new five-year contract with the English Premier League champions on Monday.

On Monday, Russian media, quoting RFU and Sports Ministry sources, said Mancini had agreed a four-year deal to become Russia’s new coach after officials found a “signed contract” in the safe of former RFU chief Sergei Fursenko.

Barcelona terminate Henrique’s contract

Spanish football giant, Barcelona agreed to terminate the contract of Brazilian centre-back Henrique after failing to make any competitive appearance for the Spanish club.

The Club World Cup champions paid a reported €8 million for the once-capped Brazil international, a product of Coritiba’s youth system.

Though, Henrique still had 12 months before his contract with Barcelona ends, spent one whole season on loan at the Arena Palestra Italia and has now penned a four-year deal with the Sao Paulo-based side.

Henrique joined Barca from Palmeiras in 2008 but never made a single appearance for the Catalans, having first been farmed out to Bayer Leverkusen and then spending two seasons on loan at Racing Santander.

Torres on target as Del Bosque hails striker

Spain manager, Vicente Del Bosque could not hide his joy seeing Chelsea striker; Fernando Torres as a target against South Korea as Spain walloped the Asian side 4-1 on Wednesday night.

The Striker headed in the first goal for Spain after which Kim Do-Heon secured an equaliser for South Korea before the first half ended.

Strikes from Xabi Alonso,Santi Cazorla and Alvaro Negredo sealed victory for Spain in the second half of a match played in Bern, Switzerland.

Del Bosque went into the game without the nine Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao players who were given time to rest after the Copa Del Rey final.

It is the first outing of the champions before they defend their European Championship title. They will be playing China in Seville on Sunday before heading to the tournament as one of the opponents of the Republic of Ireland in Group C.

Del Bosque said the squad is happy because there has been no injuries while training and two games have been played plus the fact that players have been relating well with each other.

On Torres’ goal, the manager said with his goal, he is now the fourth highest Spanish goal-scorer of all time which is why he is very pleased with his contribution.

He continued by confirming Torres as one of the players that offers combination play with his teammates adding speed and movement to it which provided the goal from the Spaniard and everyone is happy about this.