Short Soccer, December 29, 2012

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 3:34am

Premier League target Holtby to leave Schalke

Schalke 04 midfielder Lewis Holtby will leave the Bundesliga club at the end of the season after the Germany international turned down a contract extension, the club said yesterday. However sports director Horst Heldt said Holtby, who has an English father and who had been linked with a move to the English Premier League, would not leave during the winter transfer window when the club would receive a transfer fee. His current deal runs out in June. "We had wished that Lewis could see a future here beyond this season. But we respect his decision," he said in a club statement. "We are certain that he will give everything for the club's sporting success up until the last match day of the season." The 22-year-old, who has won three caps for Germany, joined Schalke in 2009 and has had loan spells at VfL Bochum and Mainz 05 since last year. Reuters


Nigeria skipper lashes out at Odemwingie

Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo has lashed out at Peter Odemwingie for being disrespectful after the West Bromwich Albion striker said the country did not have a team leader. Odemwingie said via Twitter that recent Eagles captains had only looked out only for themselves and so the team lack a leader, prompting Yobo to reply. Odemwingie was surprisingly dropped from the squad for next month's Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa "[Odemwingie] has been reckless, disrespectful to most people. He should grow up because we cannot continue to babysit him. He is responsible for his problems," Yobo said. "This is not the first time he has been disrespectful. He is fighting all the coaches and at the World Cup he also disrespected me and he later apologised. "He is not the [Lionel] Messi or [Cristiano] Ronaldo of Nigeria. He should look at himself in the mirror." AFP


David Villa key man, insists Iniesta

David Villa is an important member of the Barcelona squad, his club and international team mate Andres Iniesta insisted amid speculation the Spain striker could move in January. Recent British media reports have suggested Chelsea coach Rafa Benitez wants to take Villa on loan until the end of the season. "I don't know if the possibility exists, I don't think so," Iniesta said. "Personally I wouldn't like it because Villa is a fundamental player." Villa has not featured regularly under new Barca coach Tito Vilanova. Reuters


I'm fighting fit, says Abidal after transplant

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal says he feels fit and is keen to play again, eight months after he underwent a liver transplant. "I feel good," the 33-year-old French international said. "The truth is that it's been a long time since they operated on me. It has been eight months and I have fought a lot and I carry on fighting. It is difficult but my spirits are still high and I am keen to fight and come back." AFP


Sunderland get tough on fans standing

Sunderland have taped up seats and stripped several fans of their season tickets for standing during matches as controversy grows over a law that requires many English soccer spectators to sit. Sunderland said in a statement on their website that 38 supporters had been ejected for standing this season. "We certainly don't wish to spoil the enjoyment of any supporters … but we also have legal obligations that we must be seen to be adhering to," said Paul Weir, head of safety and security. A number of campaigns have been launched to try to change the law on standing. Reuters


Ban on Meireles cut after appeal victory

Fenerbahce's Portuguese star Raul Meireles had his 11-match ban for spitting and allegedly making an offensive gesture at a referee reduced to four after a Turkish Football Federation appeal commission ruling. The commission watched more than six hours of video footage of the incident during the derby with Galatasaray on December 16 and concluded that while the former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder was guilty of insulting the official, he did not spit at him. "Justice has been done," said Meireles. AFP