Zidane pens new Real deal until 2020

MADRID - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on Wednesday confirmed that he has signed a contract extension, which will keep him at the European champions until 2020. "It has been signed," said the French star after his side drew 2-2 with Numancia to progress to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey 5-2 on aggregate. After a dream start at Real Madrid, with eight trophies out of a possible 10, Zidane has endured a tough season with his side 16 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race. And the 45-year-old cautioned: "I am enjoying what I do every day, because that's the way it is. I can't imagine myself as a coach in two, three years, because things are not like that. "I know how it goes, nothing more, even with this contract, it does not change anything," said Real coach.–AFP



Mancini wants to fulfil dream as Italy coach

MILAN - Former Italy international Roberto Mancini said Wednesday he wanted to take over as Italy national football coach to fulfil his dream of winning the World Cup. Mancini, 53, is positioning himself among the favourites to manage the four-time World Cup winners, with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti, also being touted as candidates. "I have a dream, to win as national coach what I couldn't win as a player - a World Cup," Zenit Saint Petersburg coach Mancini said. "I've been working on the pitch every day for 40 years as a player and a coach. Besides, I'm young, I could always return to clubs after the national team. "I've worked in big clubs and won. Coaching the national team is a beautiful thing. It would be an honour, a source of pride.”–AFP




Colombia centre-back Mina joins Barca


BARCELONA - Colombia centre-back Yerry Mina joined Barcelona from Brazilian side Palmeiras on Thursday on a five year contract for a fee of 11.8 million euros ($14mn), the Catalan club announced. The 6ft 5in (1.95m) 23-year-old is set to fill the void left by Javier Mascherano, who is on the verge of a 10mn euro switch to China's Hebei Fortune. The Colombian international will be Barcelona's second signing of the January transfer window after Philippe Coutinho's 160 million-euro capture from Liverpool. Mina has a 100mn euro release clause attached to his contract. With Mascherino set to leave and injured young French centre-back Samuel Umtiti widely reported to be in talks with Manchester City, Barcelona had faced being left with only two recognised centre backs in Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen.–AFP



Punjab’s Umer lifts U-18 Snooker title


ISLAMABAD - Umer Khan of Punjab won the Jubilee Insurance 3rd National Junior U-18 Snooker Championship after defeating province-mate M Mudassir Sheikh 5-2 in the final here at PSB Billiards and Snooker Hall, Pakistan Sports Complex Thursday. After losing first frame by 41-62, the 14-year-old managed to come back in the second frame and won it 65-42. Umer kept the pressure on Mudassir and took the lead by winning the third frame 64-22. However, Mudassir displayed some good shots and won the fourth frame 54-42, making the score 2-2. After taking break, young Umer never looked back and sealed the fate of Mudassir by winning the next three frames in a row 54-16, 77-28 and 65-16. As many as 32 players from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balouchistan and Islamabad participated in the six-day championship held on the league basis. Meanwhile, Jubilee Insurance 10th National Junior U-21 Snooker Championship will commence from tomorrow (Saturday) here at the same venue. Over 30 players from Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balouchistan and Islamabad will feature in the event.–Staff Reporter