Here are the latest stories for Friday.
LEICESTER: Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has urged angry fans to respect the decision to sack title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri, hinting at serious problems behind the scenes.
– Ranieri was sacked as Leicester City manager less than 300 days after leading the team to the most improbable of Premier League titles. The club made the announcement on Thursday and the news lit the social-media world on fire, with the move polarising opinions around the world.
– The move was deemed harsh, but necessary, by two ESPN FC contributors, with Mark Ogden saying the manager’s time had come and Iain Macintosh putting the blame squarely on the players’ shoulders.
– Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as the frontrunner for Leicester City job, sources close to the club have told ESPN FC.
– Leicester caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare has rejected any claims sacked boss Claudio Ranieri had lost the dressing room.
EUROPA LEAGUE: Manchester United have been drawn against Russian club Rostov in the Europa League round of 16. Rostov, currently seventh in the Russian Premier League, defeated Sparta Prague in the round of 32.
TOTTENHAM: Dele Alli was sent off in the 39th minute of Spurs’ 2-2 draw against Gent at Wembley Stadium for a violent tackle on Brecht Dejaegere, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men flaming out of the Europa League on the short end of a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.
– Following the match, Pochettino refused to lay the blame for the loss at the feet of Alli.
LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp says it was a “strange decision” for Leicester City to sack Claudio Ranieri, but he is not expecting them to play any differently when his Liverpool side face them on Monday.
– Philippe Coutinho says Klopp gives Liverpool the freedom to “do what we want” on the pitch. Coutinho was speaking to Liverpool’s official website after being presented with the Samba Gold award, which is given to the best Brazilian player in Europe.
– Frank de Boer has told the Daily Mail that he once rejected the chance to manage Liverpool because it was “too soon” in his career.
MAN UNITED: Jose Mourinho has delivered a staunch show of support for Claudio Ranieri by claiming that the “selfishness of others” led to his sacking as Leicester City manager.
– Mourinho has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will be in Manchester United’s squad for the EFL Cup final on Sunday and Michael Carrick has shaken off a calf injury in time to face Southampton. But United will be without hamstring injury victim Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the weekend.
– Several Major League Soccer teams are interested in acquiring the services of Rooney should he leave the Premier League club in the future, a league source has told ESPN FC.
– Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has said he likes watching “exciting prospect” Marcus Rashford as much as he used to enjoy coaching him.
SOUTHAMPTON: Southampton legend Matthew Le Tissier has told the ‘Quickly, Kevin’ podcast that Sir Alex Ferguson blaming Manchester United’s grey change strip for a 3-1 defeat in 1996 was “the worst excuse I have ever heard.”
CHELSEA: Cesc Fabregas has said he would not be surprised if Real Madrid attempted to sign Chelsea teammate Thibaut Courtois in the summer, calling him “the best goalkeeper in the world.”
– Antonio Conte says he is ready to “risk” his job if Chelsea win the Premier League, even if he we were to suffer the same fate as Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri next year.
ARSENAL: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has revealed that he underwent a minor ankle operation on Thursday afternoon and does not know when he will be able to return to action.
PREMIER LEAGUE: Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chief executive Gordon Taylor has said retrospective bans for diving could potentially be brought into English football for the 2017-18 season.
BOURNEMOUTH: Bournemouth players have each been given a pair of orange glasses by the club to wear before they go to bed in order to improve their sleep.
JUVENTUS: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has once again distanced himself from rumours linking him with a move to the Premier League by stating he is happy in Turin.
BAYERN MUNICH: Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti said winger Franck Ribery will be back on the bench for the home game against Hamburg on Saturday but midfielder Xabi Alonso will not play.
LIGUE 1: Mario Balotelli’s agent has joked that the only way to stop the Nice striker from getting into trouble because of what he says is to “cut his tongue out.”nth.
– Younes Belhanda has said he would love to extend his stay at Nice and believes there is “everything here to be successful.”
PSG: Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Kevin Trapp has stressed that he and his teammates must put their recent flawless 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the UEFA Champions league behind them if they are emerge victorious in Le Classique away at Marseille on Sunday.
BARCELONA: Barcelona have partnered with Mission Hills Group to launch a new FCBEscola in China, which will be the first football school of its kind directly managed by the club.
DORTMUND: Mark Pulisic, the father of United States international Christian Pulisic, is returning to the U.S. to become an assistant coach with the Rochester Rhinos, the USL club announced on Thursday.
MLS: The New York Red Bulls rallied to salvage a 1-1 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of the teams’ CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
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