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Monday, Feb 27th

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Diego Maradona to join FIFA

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has announced he will take up an official post with the world governing body FIFA.

Maradona made the announcement on his Facebook account along with a photo of him with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, reports Efe. Maradona declared: "Now it's official. Finally I can fulfill one of the lifelong dreams; to work for a clean and transparent FIFA alongside people who really love football. Thanks to all who have encouraged me to face this new challenge!"

The 1986 World Cup winner has said he will join FIFA as a sporting ambassador and that his aim is to clean up the Argentine Football Association.

UEFA wants 16 spots at 2026 FIFA World Cup

European football's governing body UEFA will ask for 16 places for European teams in the expanded 48-team 2026 World Cup 2026, its President Aleksander Ceferin has said.

Last month, FIFA agreed to increase the number of World Cup participants to 48 nations instead of 32, from 2026 onwards, reports Efe.


Argentina National Team Coach delighted with Messi's form

Argentina football coach Edgardo Bauza, presently touring Europe, has praised the professional level his team's talisman Lionel Messi has reached in recent months.

After attending a training session of Atletico Madrid on Thursday, Bauza said Messi seems to be doing well as he led his club FC Barcelona to reach the Cop del Rey final, and emphasised the player's steady development over the last two months, reports Efe.


Canada announces squad for CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship

Canada Soccer have announced their roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship. Coach Rob Gale has selected 20 players for the international competition that runs 17 February to 5 March in San José, Costa Rica.

The 12-nation CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship equally serves as the qualification route for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017. Only four CONCACAF nations will qualify for the biennial event, which runs this 20 May to 11 June.


Athletic Bilbao renews Yeray Alvarez contract until 2022

Athletic Bilbao renewed the contract of defender Yeray Alvarez until June 2022, adding a buy-out clause of 30 million euros ($32 million), the club announced on Thursday.

Alvarez began his career in the youth team of Athletic Bilbao and was promoted this season to the first team, earning a regular place in the starting line-up as a centre-back, next to Aymeric Laporte,reports Efe.


Ian Rush backs Daniel Sturridge to come good

Liverpool legend Ian Rush on Thursday put his weight behind club striker and England international Daniel Sturridge to return to form and fire the Reds to a top-four finish.

"Daniel Sturridge is probably the most gifted striker we have got," Rush told the Daily Mail. "I was made up that he didn't go in January and I hope he is still here next year but you have got to fight for your place. I think he will fight for his place," he added.


Cameroon on the charge, Côte d'Ivoire drop in latest FIFA Rankings

The most significant changes in the February edition of the FIFA World Ranking have occurred courtesy of matches played in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Cameroon’s triumph at the tournament helped them climb 29 places into 33rd position, while Egypt’s second-place finish secured them a spot in the top 25. The Pharaohs (23rd, up 12) are now the highest-ranked CAF team. Beaten semi-finalists Burkina Faso (38th, up 15) and Ghana (45th, up 9) have also enjoyed large gains while quarter-finalists Congo DR (37th, up 12) and Morocco (48th, up 9) plus hosts Gabon (87th, up 21) also have cause to celebrate.


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